Braving attack from the Opposition, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament on Friday that government believed the 39 Indians held hostage by ISIS in Iraq were still alive.
Distancing from a report that these Indians held in captivity in Mosul, may have been killed, the minister made similar statements in both the Houses, asserting that there was no proof to confirm the report.
“On the one hand there is one source about which there is no confirmation. Six different sources have informed the government that they have not been killed” she said after Congress deputy in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma, raised the matter and his party colleague Jyotiraditya Scindia took the matter up in Lok Sabha.
“Our prayers and hopes are alive. Our search for their safe release is on....It is my duty and responsibility to keep the hope of tracing them alive and bring them home safely," Swaraj said.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Scindia accused Swaraj of "misleading" the House and said that the government had failed to protect the workers. “If the reports about their being killed long back are correct, then the government has misled the people and Parliament," he said.
"The government is responsible. Earlier, the House was told that the release of the 40 workers would come as an Eid gift,” Scindia added.
“If this was known, then why this was not told in the House and why assurances were given to the families of those abducted,” Sharma asked in the Rajya Sabha.
NDA ally SAD also wanted clarity on the issue. BSP chief Mayawati, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, TMC member Derek O'Obrien, SP member Jaya Bachchan also expressed concern over the report in the RS. Parties including CPI(M) and Aam Aadmi Party supported Scindia in the Lok Sabha.