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Kin of Punjabi youth missing in IS-held Iraq arrive in Amritsar to give DNA

The youth are missing since June 2014 from Mosul city of Iraq after Islamic State, a terror group, captured the city.

punjab Updated: Oct 28, 2017 12:30 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Punjabi youth missing in Iraq,Iraq,Families start arriving
Families started arriving at the Government Medical College in Amritsar on Saturday morning for their DNA test. (HT Photo)

A week after the ministry of external affairs issued directions to collect DNA samples of kin of Punjabi youth missing in Iraq, the administration on Friday recalled the kin for the collection as test kits reached Amritsar on Thursday night. Families started arriving at the Government Medical College in Amritsar on Saturday morning.

The samples could not be collected for a week due to non-availability of the kits at forensic department of the Government Medical College. The families were eagerly waiting for the call of the administration. “We have been asked to come to the college to give samples on Saturday,” said Gurpinder Kaur, whose brother Manjinder Singh is amongst the 39 missing youth.

As per government directions, samples of three members of each family will be collected. Each person will have to give two samples for the test.

Rajat Obarai, sub-divisional magistrate of Ajnala, where two victim families reside, also confirmed the development. He said that adequate arrangements have been made for the collection of samples and the families have been informed about the same.

Notably, most of the youth belong to Punjab. They are missing since June 2014 from Mosul city of Iraq after Islamic State, a terror group, captured the city. The ministry had told the victim families to conduct DNA tests in fresh efforts to trace the missing youth.

The samples have been requested by the external affairs ministry on urgent basis and it is mentioned in the letter received by the local administration that a team would go to Iraq with the samples on October 23.

Must read | DNA testing: All you need to know about the science, methodology

Meanwhile, civil surgeon Dr Narinder Kaur said the test kits are available with the forensic lab of the Government Medical College.

Replying to a query on delay in the process, a senior official of the forensic department, on the condition of anonymity, argued that this was a sensitive matter and they could not do anything in haste in this regard. He said it was better to delay than to do it wrongly.

He further said that the kits could be purchased from other places but those have no authenticity and quality. “To arrange high quality kits, the process was delayed for some days. Besides, the kits were required in bulk that was also one of the reasons behind the delay,” he added.

The college, along with the administration, sent an employee to Hyderabad to bring the kits. He reportedly landed in Amritsar on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. He sought 200 kits but succeeded to get only 100.

Two hundred kits were sought as the lab has to collect samples in bulk. Initially, only nine families belonging to Amritsar district have been called for the samples, but the families may also come from other districts as this is a sole medical institution in nine nearby districts of Punjab having this facility.

In case members from the victim families are not there in the required number, the samples would be collected for available members.

As per government directions, samples of three members of each family will be collected. Each person will have to give two samples for the test. One sample will be preserved in the lab and the other will be sent to Iraq.

First Published: Oct 28, 2017 11:24 IST