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In Amritsar, no kits to collect DNA samples of kin of Indians missing in Iraq

The government is collecting DNA samples from the kin of 39 Indians missing in Iraq as part of a fresh effort to determine their fate.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2017 17:31 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
DNA samples,Collection kits,Missing Indians
Families of the nine of the 39 Indians missing in Iraq at government medical college in Amritsar where they were called to give samples for DNA tests. (HT Photo)

Blood samples of family members of nine of the 39 the Indians missing in Iraq could not be collected even on Monday because the designated health centre in Amritsar does not have DNA test kits.

Uncertainty still prevails over the collection as the kits would be available after three or four days, sources said.

The Government Medical College which has been assigned the task by the Punjab government has sent an employee to Hyderabad to bring the kits which are not available in market, sources said.

There are different cards in the kit to preserve the blood samples. During the test, these samples are used to match tissues of different body parts of two persons.

These samples have been requested by the external affairs ministry on an urgent basis to restart efforts to trace the missing people.

Nine families from Amritsar district who visited the forensic department of Government Medical College, Amritsar, on Sunday were unable to give their blood samples as the college did not have proper equipment.

The college collects DNA samples for nine districts of Majha and Doaba region. The samples are sent to Hyderabad for tests.

Earlier on Sunday, the medical college principal Dr Tejbir Singh said they were trying their best to arrange the kits. “We have approached kit manufacturers in Mohali and Hyderabad and they will be available in a day or two. Once we receive them, we will call the families with the help of respective sub-divisional magistrates,” he had told HT.

Read more: Families of 39 Indians kidnapped in Mosul told to take DNA tests

“On an average, we collect seven DNA samples every month and kits for the same are usually available. However, to collect samples of the kin of missing Indians, we need these kits in bulk,” Dr Kuldeep, assistant professor in forensic department of the college said.

He added, “As per government directions, we are supposed to collect samples of three members of each family. We have to collect two samples of each person. One sample will be preserved in the lab and the other will be sent to Iraq. Collecting the samples for preserving them in the lab is easy, but we need proper kits to send them to Iraq.”

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of Amritsar, Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, assured that the administration will provide the kits to the health officials on Monday.

While in Amritsar the kin of nine of the missing Indians were left high and dry, health authorities in Gurdaspur on Saturday collected DNA samples of family members of three of missing 39.

When asked how doctors in Gurdaspur district are able to collect these samples, Dr Kuldeep said they have collected only one sample from each person which will be preserved at the local lab. “They too will require proper kit for samples to be sent to Iraq,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources said the external affairs ministry had sent the letter asking for the samples long back but the local authorities were informed about it only on Friday. “Collection of samples in such short notice is difficult,” said a medical college official.

The Centre, in collaboration with authorities in Iraq, has started a fresh search to trace the 39 Indians who were kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, three years back. At the suggestion of some parliamentarians and Iraqi officials, the Centre is collecting DNA samples of the kin of the 39 missing Indians to determine their identity.

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 12:49 IST