Punjabis missing in Mosul: All eyes on Sushma, Iraqi minister meeting today
Search for the 39 missing Indians who were kidnapped in Mosul three years ago is expected to gather momentum with the visit of Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who arrives in India on Monday on a five-day visit.
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will hold talks with her Iraqi counterpart during which focus is expected to be on the missing Indians, mostly Punjabis, who were kidnapped by the ISIS June 2014 from Mosul city.
As liberation of Mosul brightened chances of information about the kidnapped Indians, Swaraj, at a meeting with their relatives last week, had said that they might be languishing in a jail in Badush in northwest of Mosul where fighting was going on.
However, following a media report from Badush on Saturday that the jail now is an abandoned structure and has been unoccupied for weeks, families of 22 missing Punjabis are not only a worried about their well-being, but say the government is hiding facts.
Talking to HT, Gurpinder Kaur, who has been vocal on the issue and is waiting for her brother Manjinder Singh’s return from Iraq, said, “After the government told us that missing Indians were last seen in Badush jail, I inquired about and came to knew that the jail was in a shambles. Now, a media report is also claiming that Badush jail is destroyed. Families of all missing men are worried. I feel either the Union government is hiding facts or it doesn’t know much about the whereabouts of the missing Indians.”
Kaur who claimed that she was contacted by Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa, who has announced to urge the Lok Sabha speaker bring a privilege motion against Swaraj for “misleading” the country on the fate of missing Indians, said: “I am happy that someone is questioning the government. The Centre must provide credible information on the issue.”
Kaur said a delegation of parliamentarians and some family member of the missing men should be sent to Iraq to know the ground reality.
Unhappy with how things have gone till now, Kaur said: “Every family is waiting to meet their loved ones since three years but the government has not been able to give us exact details. We were happy when Mosul was freed from ISIS but then the government told us that the abducted men are in Badush jail. Now, Badush jail also doesn’t exist. We don’t know what to do.”
(With agency inputs)