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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Youths trapped in Iraq, financial crunch adds to woes of families

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Amritsar, July 04, 2014
First Published: 07:44 IST(4/7/2014) | Last Updated: 07:48 IST(4/7/2014)

Even as the fate of more than 40 youth from Punjab trapped in strifetorn Iraq is still uncertain, their families back home not only remained a worried lot but also facing severe financial crises.

Two of such families — one from Dhuri in Sangrur, while another from Jagatpur village in Nawan Shahr — whose members are among the 40 persons reportedly abducted by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Thursday, took up the matter of their immediate release and safe return with Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

Jeet Ram from Jagatpur village, told Hindustan Times: “My son Parvinder Kumar has been working as a carpenter in a construction company at Mosul, but June 15 onwards we failed to make any contact with him. He had gone to Iraq for a better future, but we had never thought that he would meet such fate and we would have to see such days.”

“It’s getting tough for us day-by-day. Our entire family is worried. We just want the Government of India to step up measures for their release and safe return,” he added.

He claimed that their son was the sole bread-winner for his family.

Jeet Ram said, “Though foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had assured help and early release of the 40 Punjabis, the absence of any concrete measure by the Centre had been worrying more to us.”

While a member of another family, Neeraj Sharma from Dhuri, said: “My father Prithpal Sharma was at Mosul when he contacted us the last. We don’t have any option, but to wait and request the government.”

Claiming that his father is the only earning member of the family, Neeraj said: “My father used to send Rs. 30,000-Rs 40,000 after the span of 3-4 months for the survival of entire family. However, these are not important now, as we want the safe return of our father and other Punjabis struck in Iraq.”

Sarchand Singh, media advisor to the revenue minister, said, “The families have also handed over some documents in an attempt to receive some financial aid from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC).”

We will forward their documents to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and the DSGMC so that they could be given financial help.

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