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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Unhappy I-Day for kin of Bengal workers abducted in Iraq

IANS  Kolkata, August 15, 2014
First Published: 20:56 IST(15/8/2014) | Last Updated: 21:12 IST(15/8/2014)

It was an unhappy Independence Day on Friday for the families of the two West Bengal workers as they wait for their return, after they were abducted by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.

As many as 25 Indian workers, all from Bengal, were evacuated from Iraq after the conflict broke out in that country. They have returned to their villages in Nadia, North 24-Parganas and Burdwan districts.

While 16 others from Nadia district have returned home from Iraq last month, news of Khokan Sikdar and Samar Tikadar still eludes their kin. 

"It is a very emotional time and today (Friday) being Independence Day, there is a sense of urgency to bring them back home to us. I hope our government expedites the process. It is worrisome to hear the war has intensified," Namita, wife of Khokon, told IANS.

The mother of two said Khokon was working as a carpenter with a construction company, in the vicinity of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's home in Awja village to the west of the Tigris river.

Namita and Dipali, wife of Samar, met state's BJP president Rahul Sinha with documents Aug 11. They appealed to him to look into the issue.

"He has told us he will look into it. While the country celebrates today, we have no option but to scan news channels and read papers for information on their whereabouts. It is just another day for us. We will only celebrate after my husband returns," Dipali told IANS.

Mosul was overrun in June by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, who now call themselves the Islamic State. 

The IS militants have overrun large swathes of area in northern Iraq and are currently on the verge of taking over Mosul Dam, thus controlling the source of water and electricity.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the abducted Indian workers "remain unharmed" following the latest information received about them Aug 12 night after establishing contact with them through intermediaries in Iraq.


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