Kolkata: It was an agonising 17-hour wait for the parents of Puspendu Ghosh, who was trapped by a gunman in the hostage drama at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Sydney Monday.
“At around 8.15 a.m. Monday I was told by one of his colleagues that my son was in the cafe when the gunman took hostage those inside. He told me to watch the news on television, and said they were in touch with the police in Sydney,” said Puspendu’s father Pushpal Kumar Ghosh.
A terrified Pushpal and his wife Smritikona sat constantly before their TV set Monday watching every development and praying for their son.
Pushpal did not call up his son fearing it could put his life in danger. “I texted him, but it went unanswered. I thought I should not communicate with him anymore, as it would have attracted the gunman’s attention.”
As the 17-hour hostage crisis ended, Smritikona saw her son getting out of the cafe along with other hostages with his hands raised up. “But suddenly he lay down. Later he told me that he acted as per the police’s instruction as firing was on.”
“The call from Puspendu came at 1 a.m. Tuesday. He said he was safe. I can’t explain how relived I felt,” said Pushpal.
Puspendu, an engineer with Infosys, has been staying in Australia since 2009.
We don’t want him to stay so far from us anymore. We want him to return to India,” said Pushpal.
The family of Ankireddy Vishwakant also expressed joy on learning that he was rescued safely from a Sydney cafe when Australian police stormed it to end a hostage drama.
Vishwakant, employee of software giant Infosys, was clad in a white shirt and with raised hands was seen emerging from the cafe escorted by two commandos.
His family spoke to Ankireddy’s wife in Sydney who confirmed the news. She told them he spoke to her over telephone after being rescued.
“Thank God! This is a big relief for us,” said Ankireddy’s father Ishwar Reddy at his house in Guntur town, about 300 km from Hyderabad.
The software engineer’s mother Sulochana, who was in shock since the hostage drama began in the morning, was overjoyed. Relatives and friends gathered at their house to share the happy moment.
His father Ishwar Reddy, a government employee, said his son stopped at the cafe on his way to work when a gunman took him and 29 others hostage.
Anikreddy has been living in Australia for six years with his wife. The couple has a daughter.
After working for a project with the National Australian Bank in Melbourne, he moved about a year ago to Sydney to work as a senior project manager with another bank.
Ishwar Reddy said his son was recently conferred Australian citizenship. Hailing from Gangireddy Palle in Guntur, Anikreddy is an alumnus of BITS Pilani. He got married seven years ago.