Kidnapped Amsterdam girl to be discussed in Foreign Min.'s visit to India

Insiya Hemani, kidnapped in Amsterdam and taken to India
Undated photo of Insiya Hemani, kidnapped from her mother's home in Amsterdam when she was 2Photo: Politie

The kidnapping of a young Amsterdam girl is expected to be a key topic of conversation when Bert Koenders, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, meets his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, in New Delhi. The two are scheduled to speak with each other on Tuesday at the end of Koenders’ four-day official visit, newswire ANP reported.

Insiya Hemani was two years old when she was taken from her grandmother’s house by a group of people in Amsterdam Oost last September. It is suspected that the girl is with her father in Mumbai.

Authorities in the Netherlands believe Hemani’s father, Shehzad Hemani, recruited seven people to kidnap his daughter during a custody battle with Hemani’s mother, Nadia Rashid. In late March, the Netherlands asked India to extradite Shehzad Hemani to face court proceedings over the kidnapping and apparent conspiracy.

A neighbor who witnessed the kidnapping said he saw the father outside the apartment for several hours before the kidnapping. During the kidnapping, a witness managed to capture one suspect, while another man later turned himself into police. The five others suspected of involvement were also caught, including arrests in Germany, the United States and Iran. At least two of the suspects said they thought they were providing assistance to a distraught father.

However, in an interview after the incident, Hemani’s mother said she found GPS trackers under her car six different times before the kidnapping, which took place 15 minutes after she left for work. Her relationship with Hemani before their marriage was romantic and loving, but soured as Hemani became more controlling and threatening, Rashid said in earlier interviews.

"At one point he said, ‘I’m sending my Russian friends to kill you.’ He said that casually with Insiya sitting on his lap,” she said on the Dutch current affairs television show Pauw. “For me that was the last straw: I grabbed Insiya and ran to the police station."

Indian authorities were also reportedly investigating Hemani in a separate case late last year involving fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. He was charged with forgery in India last December, according to the Telegraaf.

The foreign affairs minister’s meeting with Swaraj was only casually mentioned in a press release announcing the trip. “Koenders will speak to her about current issues, regional political developments, nuclear safety, commitment to renewable energy and the cooperation between the Netherlands and India,” the statement read.

The ministry chose instead to highlight a 70-year-long positive relationship with the Netherlands ever since India’s 1947 independence. “The countries share fundamental values ​​such as democracy, respect for human rights and economic freedom,” the Dutch ministry said in the statement.

Koenders will discuss areas of cooperation to work on water management issues in Kerala, and he will visit a waste processing plant in Bangalore. The Netherlands is developing a new trade office in Bangalore, the government said. While in New Delhi, Koenders will also speak with business leaders, think tank researchers, students and government officials.