Struggling to collect concrete information about Indian nationals trapped in Iraq, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has offered Hoshiarpur resident Parwinder Singh to go to the trouble-torn country to help the Indian Embassy locate the youths there.
Parwinder (25), whose brother Kamaljit Singh is among the trapped group of Punjabis, received a number of calls from the MEA in the presence of HT correspondent and the district administration officials on Saturday urging him to use his contacts with the hiring companies and Sunni Muslims so that the stranded Indians could be safely ejected from the violence-hit country.
Officials said the MEA would pay for his ticket and other expenses.
The MEA has also sought details of agents who sent the Punjabis to Iraq and the companies which employed them. Parwinder has worked in different parts of Iraq for about two years and claims to be well-versed with the situation in that country.
He, however, repents that when he had been offering help to the Indian Consulate in Iraq between June 11 and 17, the officials concerned did not entertain his requests. "An official had gone to the extent of saying that he could not save our people when they themselves were in trouble," alleged Parwinder. He said he was willing to go to Iraq if the government took care of his security.
He claimed to have developed a contact with a Punjabi youth in Baghdad who has assured to send a video of immigrants trapped in that city. He said his contacts in Iraq have revealed that a group of 91 workers were taken hostage on June 15 but later the Bangladeshi Muslims were separated from the Indians. He revealed that mobile phones of the three abducted Punjabi youths rang for a while on Friday but no one responded. He said he had left message on all three but got no response so far.
Meanwhile, the identity of the youth who is said to have escaped from the clutches of his abductors in Iraq is yet to be verified. Hoshiarpur additional deputy commissioner Harminder Singh said no person named Vicky had been traced to the district as has been reported in a section of media. Inquiries made by Parwinder from Iraq revealed that the man in question could be Harjit Masih from Kala Afgana in Gurdaspur.