External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s stating in Parliament that there is no evidence to confirm whether 39 Indian hostages in Iraq are dead or alive has put the suspense-weary families of these men under further stress.
“The government has kept us on tenterhooks for all these months. It still wants to keep us guessing. Why doesn’t it clarify things once and for all,” said Chhauni Kalan’s Parwinder Singh, brother of captive Kamaljit Singh. “The minister says a man who got out of Iraq is in the Indian custody. How come the authorities could not verify his claims in five months?” he added.
Parwinder Singh even offered to go to Iraq to trace the men. “I know Arabic and have many links there; but the government did not agree. Five months on, the situation is unchanged. The minister opened up about Harjit after media reports. Her story, which says that the man is in custody for security reasons, doesn’t sound credible,” he said, demanding that Harjit be brought before the waiting families.
Kamaljit’s mother, Santosh Kumari, doesn’t believe that she has lost him. “I will wait for him till my last breath,” she said. At Jaitpur village, family of captive Gurdip had not lost hope until the fresh media reports. “We request the government to come out with evidence,” said Gurdip’s wife, Anita, mother to two children, aged 1 and 3.