A woman breaks down during prayers held at Baba Budha Ji Sahib Gurdwara for safe return of their loved ones abducted in Iraq, at Kathunangal in Amritsar on Tuesday. Sameer Sehgal/HT
The abduction of 39 Indians in strife-torn Iraq appears to have taken a turn for the worse, with technical inputs suggesting that the victims’ mobile phones are being used by the Sunni fighters in the ISIS-held Mosul and they are being held near a hotel around the city university.
At a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 20, the south block officials, in their attempt to locate the hostages, had zeroed in on a satellite phone number on which a call came to Punjab from Mosul. However, the call could not be traced to a location as it was routed through VoIP using four servers. The
Indian government has now sought Baghdad’s help to trace the location of the phone numbers.
While technical inputs suggest that the abductors are changing their hideouts in Mosul, Indian security agencies don’t discount the possibility of the captives being bartered for money.
To complicate matters, Lucky — the Hoshiarpur agent who sent these labourers to Mosul and last spoke to them on June 15 — has disowned any responsibility after Punjab police confronted him.
Harjeet Massih, the Punjab labourer who apparently escaped captivity along with 40 Bangladeshis, is said to be in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan and has been in touch with the Indian agencies. Massih has suffered cuts in his upper arm while trying to escape but doesn’t have any bullet injuries.
Based on technical inputs, New Delhi has been able to map the movement of the abductors.
However, there is no way of escape as the ISIS terrorists control the road to Baghdad and the Mosul airstrip is blocked.