Amid media reports that the Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Iraq have killed 39 Indian hostages, most of them from Punjab, Congress parliamentarian Captain Amarinder Singh and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president Avtar Singh Makkar have sought a clarification from the central government.
In a statement issued here on Friday, Amarinder, deputy leader of his party in the Lok Sabha, expressed concern over the reports quoting some secondary eyewitnesses that the hostages had been killed, and said that it was "too painful and traumatic for the families of the missing men".
He regretted that the government had "failed to understand the trauma of the families involved and kept them in dark for five months". He accused the cental government of being negligent. "It is shocking that we still rely on the media reports for any information about the hostages, and that our government remains ignorant miserably," he said.
Praying for the safety of the youths and hoping that the media reports about their death were wrong, the Congress MP said that it was high time the government took a serious initiative to rescue them and bring them home.
Come out with truth: Makkar
SGPC president Makkar issued a statement here to ask the central government to "come out with the truth". "The families of these youths are a worried lot. The men went to Iraq to earn money to support their families back home. Many even took loan for going abroad," he stated.
Some of the missing men were the only earning members of their families, said Makkar, appealing to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to seek the truth from the central government.
He said the SGPC had, so far, given financial assistance of `40,000 each to the families of 27 youths; and Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) had given away another `10,000 to each.