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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Bullet in leg, Punjab worker fled Iraq militia’s captivity

Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 16, 2014
First Published: 07:42 IST(16/7/2014) | Last Updated: 07:44 IST(16/7/2014)

Even with a bullet in the leg, a worker from Punjab managed to escape from the captivity of the ISIS militia in Iraq last month. Harjit Masih, 26, was among the 40 Indian workers kidnapped from their workplace in Mosul. “He is now in the safe hands of some agencies in Erbil and recuperating from the gunshot wound,” Robin Masih, his younger brother, told HT on the phone. The survivor, sole breadwinner of a family of four from Kala Afghana village in Batala tehsil of Gurdaspur district, had gone to the Middle-East country 11 months ago with the help of a Delhi-based travel agent to work as electrician in a private construction firm. He has called his brother thrice after escaping from the hands of the militia.

Masih told his family that the 40 kidnapped Indian workers had been put on a bus to Mosul, and on the way, asked to alight and surrender their belongings, including money. “He has told me it was night, and the extremists were searching their bags, when taking advantage of the darkness, he dared to run away. After a warning from behind, the militants fired upon him and a bullet lodged in his leg,” said Robin Masih.

“He kept running and hiding until he came across a group of Bangladeshis in Erbil, one of whom helped him contact the Indian embassy in Baghdad over telephone. Some Indian officials met him in Erbil,” said the survivor’s sibling, adding: “He told us that some workers from Amritsar district remained in the custody of ISIS.”

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