Hopes of Kin of Missing Indians Get a Fillip Following Mosul's Liberation From Islamic State
Family members of 39 Indian workers, who have been missing in Iraq for the past three years, have once again urged the government to secure a safe release of the stranded Indians in the war-ravaged country's Mosul city.
In this June 19, 2014, file photo, relatives hold up photographs of workers, who had been kidnapped in Iraq. Thirty-nine Indian construction workers were kidnapped in Iraq's second largest city of Mosul. (Photo: Reuters)
Chandigarh: Hopes for the families of 39 Indians, missing in Iraq for the past three years, have once again been raised following an announcement by the Iraqi government that Mosul city has been liberated from the Islamic State. The last known location of these missing Indians was Mosul and family members say they were assured of the well being of the Indians, most of whom are from Punjab.
"When we last met Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in Delhi on June 8, we were categorically told by officials that they have information that our relatives are safe and that they have also identified their location," Gurpinder Kaur, whose brother has been missing in Iraq for the last three years, told News18.
Family members say they were optimistic, as they had been called by the government to come for the meeting to Delhi and they were for the first time assured of the location as also the well being of their family members. None of the family members has had any contact with the missing persons after they were made captive by the ISIS in June 2014.
"Now that Mosul has been liberated and the government is also sure of the location of our relatives in Iraq, they should immediately let us know what steps have been taken to secure their release from captivity and also when they will be able to send them to India," says Gurpinder, whose brother Manjinder worked at a construction site in Mosul and was taken captive on June 11, 2014.
While most of the 39 persons missing are from Punjab, some are from Himachal and Bihar too. Family members say at the last meeting held in Delhi, government officials read out a letter from a source in Mosul, saying the captured Indians are alive and well. "What surprises us is that all these years the government has been saying they are alive and well and appears to have information of their well being, but we have never been given any direct and concrete proof of their safety," says Gurpinder, adding there has been no communication from the missing Indians ever since they were captured.
Family members of several of those gone missing have undergone immense hardship over the years as those captured were in many cases the sole breadwinners. Not only are families coping with the financial crisis but also with the emotional uncertainty of dealing with a situation where they have no information.
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