Kin of Indians abducted in Mosul await Sushma’s statement as Iraq fails to provide info

Visiting Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says his government has “no substantial information” on 39 Indians taken hostage by the Islamic State three years ago.

india Updated: Jul 25, 2017 09:23 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Mosul,Iraq,Islamic State
Visiting Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj. (AFP Photo )

Dejected by the Iraqi government’s disclosure that it has “no substantial information” on 39 Indians taken hostage by the Islamic State in Mosul, family members of the missing workers from Punjab on Monday sought a clarification on the issue from the Centre.

“We have no substantial evidence that they (the Indians) were killed or they are still alive, so we cannot give anything in that regard,” visiting Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters in New Delhi earlier in the day.

His statement shocked the family members who were hoping some positive information from Iraq particularly after New Delhi had recently claimed the missing Indian were alive and “everything possible” was being done to ensure their safe return.

The construction workers were abducted from the war-torn Mosul in 2014. Of them 22 are from Punjab.

“We all were keenly waiting for the visit of the Iraqi foreign minister. But his statement has definitely left us disappointed. This is shocking that neither the Indian nor the Iraqi government has any input on the missing Indians,” said Gurpinder Kaur, whose brother Manjinder Singh is among the missing persons.

“We want external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to clarify the exact position and tell us what the government is planning to do now on this issue,” she said.

Swaraj is expected to make a statement on the matter in Parliament on Tuesday.

The government had earlier said the hostages were last seen at a prison in Badush, near Mosul, which is witnessing one of the fiercest fights between Islamic State militants and joint Iraqi and US forces.

The Iraqi foreign minister described the information as “inaccurate” and said the IS is known to circulate information that is “untrue”.

“Initially we were told that Indians were last seen in Badush Jail but with reports coming that Jail structures are demolished, we don’t know what to expect,” Gurpinder lamented.

Harbhajan Kaur, mother of missing Harsimranjit Singh, however is not willing to give up as yet.

“We are awaiting the statement of Sushma Swaraj. We hope she will clarify things in the Parliament. We have not lost hope. We just want the Indian government to make efforts and find all the children,” she added.


First Published: Jul 24, 2017 22:46 IST