By Anisah Shukry
KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — Twelve-year-old Nayati Shamelin Moodliar has faced down the terror of being kidnapped in a foreign country and insists he will continue to walk home from his school here where he was snatched six days ago, his parents told reporters today.
But after the euphoria of being reunited with his family wore off, he showed he was just like any other boy and slept secure in his mother’s arms and in his own bed last night.
“On his first day at school, he insisted on walking back home,” Nayati’s father, Shamelin Moodliar recounted at a news conference here today.
“He (Nayati) said to me, ‘I was kidnapped on my way to school, and now I’m walking home from school. Those kidnappers can’t beat me’,” Moodliar added, his voice choking up with emotion at the recollection.
His wife and Nayati’s mother, Janice Smith, told reporters her son had stayed up late last night as he had been celebrating a big welcome home party but finally fell asleep in her arms after six days of being apart.
“He later asked to sleep with me, and had a long, great sleep. It was truly remarkable,” she said, sounding close to tears.
Nayati was returned to his family after being found at the Sungai Buloh highway rest stop early yesterday.
He was absent from today’s press conference, but his parents sounded proud of how their son had held up during his kidnapping.
They related that, despite being abducted, Nayati had remained upbeat and even asked his kidnappers for chicken rice during mealtimes.
The case had captured public imagination, with posters of the boy appearing across the Klang Valley in various languages.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also said on Friday via Twitter “I appeal as a father for Nayati not to be harmed in any way,” and added that he has spoken to the Inspector-General Police to expedite the case.
Twitter also saw #FindNayatiMoodliar become a trending topic, and the news of his release has spread quickly across the social media platform.
The Dutch family has in the past week kept largely silent over the matter, saying a media blackout was to help ensure Nayati’s safety.
Police this morning confirmed that the schoolboy’s family had paid a cash ransom to secure his release, but did not disclose the amount.
It was reported that Nayati, who was in his school uniform, had been abducted by two men in a black car on Friday at 7.35am a short distance from his school.
The men were said to have grabbed the boy while he was walking to school, bundled him into the car and sped off.