Youths missing in Iraq: Kin threaten to protest against Modi at Yoga Day event

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2016 15:40 IST
Kin of the youths, who were allegedly abducted by the Islamic State militia two years ago in Iraq, at a press conference in Amritsar on Sunday. (HT Photo)

Annoyed over the government’s failure to provide credible evidence about the whereabouts and well being of 39 Indian youths who were reportedly abducted by Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Iraq two years ago, their family members have threatened to protest against Prime minister Narendra Modi during the Yoga Day event on June 21 at Chandigarh, in case they are not heard.

Talking to medipersons in Amritsar, kin of several missing youths said they had last heard the voice of their beloved ones on June 15 in 2015. Since then, they said, they were waiting for some “good news” about them, but in vain. They alleged the government’s attitude over the issue was insensitive and disappointing, so they have decided to demonstrate against the PM during the event.

Gurpinder Kaur, a school teacher and sister of Manjinder Singh (25) who is one of those abducted, said they had met external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj ten times, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal thrice and Union finance minister Arun Jaitley once, but they did nothing except paying lip service to them and making assurances to bring them back safely.

Talking to HT, she said, “During the meetings, the external affairs minister kept on saying that she had been informed by the intelligence sources that all the youths are safe and we don’t need to worry. But can’t her sources find out about their whereabouts?”

She added, “Despite a number of requests made by us, the PM never give us appointment. I have been trying to contact him through emails and Twitter too, but did not get any response. On the Yoga Day event, we will try once more to ask him if he took any action to trace the youths. If we are ignored again, we will hold a demonstration at the event carrying banners.”

“If Modi can take up the issue of abduction of Ch Balram Kishore and T Gopikrishna of Hyderabad in Libya with his counterpart in that country and conduct meetings with their families, why he cannot do so in case of 39 missing youths in Iraq,” said Sardara Singh, father of another missing youth Gurcharan Singh (Amritsar district). Malkit Ram, brother of abducted youth Nand Lal (Jalandhar), said, “We want clarification from the government, but it is not responding. We are ready to wait more, but at least the government should make some efforts”.

Relatives of other missing youths Parwinder Kumar (SBS Nagar), Jasbir Singh (SBS Nagar), Pritpal Sharma (Sangrur), Nand Lal (Jalandhar) and Sandeep Kumar (Jalandhar) were also present on the occasion. Out of the 39 missing youths, as many as 32 belong to Punjab while five are from Himachal Pardesh and two from Bihar. They were all planning to go to the UAE, but the travel agents—Rajbir Singh and Harjit Masih of Fatehgarh Churian— deceived them and dropped them at Mosul town of Iraq from where they were reportedly abducted by the IS terrorists.

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