Kin of Punjabis missing in Iraq pin hopes on Centre

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: May 15, 2015 11:42 IST

Refuting survivor Harjit Masih’s claim about the killing of Indian hostages by the Islamic State, family members of Jalandhar residents — who are missing in Iraq since June 2014 — said they were sure about the well-being of their kin.

Usha Rani, wife of Surjit Mainka, said, “We are in New Delhi. Union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has assured us that according to her sources, all 39 Indians are safe and constant efforts are being made by the government to evacuate them from the war-torn country. We have faith in the government. Masih is lying.”

Manjeet Kaur, another local resident whose husband Dawinder Singh is stuck in Iraq, also refuted Masih’s claim. “I have faith in God and my prayers. I know that my husband is fine. The minister has given us an assurance.”


HOSHIARPUR: Parwinder Singh, whose brother Kamaljit Singh is among the missing men, said, “We are devastated. We do not know whom to believe. The external affairs minister assured us on Thursday that the men are safe and the government was making efforts to trace them. But Masih is claiming otherwise.”

Parwinder took part in the sit-in at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to press the government to step up diplomatic efforts. Kamaljit’s wife Harwinder also refused to accept Masih’s claim, saying that she would not lose hope till she got concrete evidence that her husband was no more.

Masih’s revelation, however, has shaken the faith of Jaitpur resident Anita Rani, who has not heard from her husband Gurdip Singh since June 15 last year. “I do not want to believe him (Masih), but a part of what he said on TV appears to be true,” said a sobbing Anita, a mother of two. “We are living in the hope that one day the government will trace our kin, but it is dwindling now,” she said.


AMRITSAR: Gurpinder Kaur, whose brother Manjinder Singh is missing in Iraq, said, “I have heard what Harjit Masih has said on TV, but I will comment only after I meet him. I want to first meet Masih immediately and hear the entire sequence of events.”

On what she expected from the Union government now, Gurpinder, who has been leading the fight on behalf of various families, said, “I will talk about what the government should do only after meeting Harjit.”

Manjinder Singh hails from Bhoewal village in Amritsar district.

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