Harjit Masih (25), who was among the 40 Indians missing in Iraq and now is the only one of that group in touch with his family and the Indian authorities, didn’t mention the 39 others when he last called home, says his mother.
Relieved after the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj stated in Parliament on Thursday that Harjit was in the Indian hands in Iraq, his mother, Shinder Masih (45), wants him home. She holds tears in her eyes and son’s picture in her hand. “I am happy after the statement from the minister that he is safe in Irbil; and now request the Indian government to give me my son.” says the woman.
“Harjit last called home about a month ago, to tell me that he was with ‘bada saab’ (a big officer). He spoke for only five minutes and assured me that he was safe and abroad,” recalls the mother. Asked about the telephone numbers from which Harjit had called, she said, “I do not have those. I lost my mobile phone. They were internet numbers probably.”
The family doesn’t confirm it but sources say that it was told that Harjit would be home in December.
Claiming that Harjit never discussed the 39 other missing people, Shinder said: “He talked only about himself. I got to learn from newspapers and television that he had been shot in the leg. He didn’t tell me about that as well; he didn’t want me to worry, probably.”
On television reports that quote two Bangladesh as saying that Harjit told them that the 39 others had all been killed, Shinder Kaur said: “He never mentioned it. I do not believe it. I pray for the safety of all 39 and I can understand what their families are going through.”
Harjit Masih had gone to Iraq 18 months ago to work in Mosul with the 39 others. If he returns, the family vows to keep him in village. The reports that Islamic militia in Iraq had taken 40 Indians hostage were followed by inputs in Harjit had run away from the captivity. Since Thursday night, when a television channel ran the news about what he had told two Bangladeshis, all eyes are on what he will now say once he is back.