HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

Families, CM meet foreign minister; all help promised

Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, June 20, 2014
First Published: 11:20 IST(20/6/2014) | Last Updated: 11:30 IST(20/6/2014)

Worried over the safety of their sons stuck in strifetorn Iraq, parents and relatives of 13 youths from Punjab met union foreign minister Sushma Swaraj and got an assurance of help.

In the meeting that lasted 45 minutes, the families along with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal requested Swaraj for urgent measures to track the missing men and ensure their return to Punjab.

Most of the men are stuck in Mosul city of Iraq that has been captured by insurgents, and have lost contact with their families since Sunday.

Talking to HT over phone from New Delhi, Gurpinder Kaur, who is battling for the safety of her brother Manjinder Singh, said, “I along with 12 other families met the foreign minister and she has given us the assurance that the central government is with us, and desperate efforts are being made to track all the missing Indians in Iraq.”

“The minister told us that some clues have come wherein it is learnt that the men who went missing from Mosul are in some factory. However, there is no further input,” she added.

Harbhajan Kaur, who is waiting for her son Harsimranjit Singh to return from Iraq, said, “My son went to Iraq 11 months back and was in Mosul; but after Sunday there has been no contact.”

Gurpinder told HT that CM Badal was also with the families, along with some MPs from Punjab and officials from the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.

The missing youth worked for a Turkish construction firm in Mosul. In all, 40 youths are reported kidnapped.

Sarchand Singh, media adviser to Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia, who took the families to Delhi, said, “The foreign minister told the families that she too was worried about the missing men and was using all channels to track them.”

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