Working in Iraq not worth the risks, says Indian worker in the country
Baghdad: Many Indians have been stranded in different parts of Iraq, which is facing a grave danger to its very existence. The fanatic Islamist organiwsation ISIS has already taken charge of Iraq's second largest city Mosul. It has committed terrible atrocities and is now moving towards the national capital Baghdad to overthrow the elected government. According to an estimate, thousands of Indians are working in Oil and construction industry across Iraq. There are many Indians, who are in the healthcare sector.
Mushtaq, an Indian worker at an oil rig near Mosul, has managed to escape to Baghdad. He spoke to IBNLive. Mushtaq does not want give his second name for safety reasons.
"I am from a village near Mangalore. I went to Dubai almost 20 years ago to work as a driver. Later I shifted to Kuwait bordering Iraq. I was in Kuwait during the second Iraq war in which Saddam Hussain was captured and hanged later. Iraq has been a very dangerous country since the fall of Saddam Hussain. Even though I was offered better jobs with more money, I did not go there till 2010.
In 2010, a multi-national oil company offered me a job at Basra in southern Iraq. I worked there as an oil tank driver for a year. After that I moved to Mosul hoping to make more money. Iraq is full of contractors who hire labour force. I was also hired by one of the contractors from Dubai.
This period (2010-2013) was relatively a peaceful period in Iraq. There were even talks of Iraq returning to normal life and the establishment of a truly democratic government.
Lots of Indians (both legal and illegal migrants) came to Iraq via United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the past 5 years. The sectarian tensions were always palpable in Iraq. Life has never been quiet.
We rarely ventured out of our oil rig areas fearing abduction, worse murder. A few days ago, a co-worker from Pakistan told me that there would be tension in Mosul. He told me that the Iraqi government was too weak to defend the nation and regretted that the Americans have abandoned the Iraqis. He left for Baghdad the next day.
Our worse fears came true a month ago. The security in and around Mosul was too weak to prevent the assault of Islamists led by ISIS.
Initially, there were minor skirmishes. I did not pay much attention to it because such things are quiet common across Iraq. They call it a daily occurrence.
About a week ago, I decided to leave Iraq and return home via Dubai. I packed my bags (took just one big suitcase and my savings in Dollars) and hired a taxi for Baghdad. The taxi driver warned me that there would be trouble on the road and the ISIS was waiting just outside Mosul. He collected rent in advance and never returned. I was cheated by him.
I dropped that idea of taxi ride and joined a big group of Mosul residents fleeing their homes. I had to leave my suitcase behind. Somehow we managed to escape from Mosul. With a great difficulty, we reached Baghdad in just 24 hours. We came to Baghdad by a truck.
After reaching Baghdad, I realized that we were the luckiest. Because, now the situation has totally deteriorated and Mosul has fallen. The ISIS islamists and other organisations have taken control of the city.
Thousands of innocent people have been butchered by them. I heard that they are beheading Iraqi policemen and soldiers. I can say that the ISIS terrorists are barbarians.
I am planning to reach Dubai or Kuwait city in a day or two. I will look for a job there. If I don't get anything, I will head home. But, working in Iraq is not worth the risks.
One thing is sure, I will never return to Iraq. I am prepared to die without food and water, but I will never come to a country like Iraq. Many in Iraq feel that the Americans have abandoned them. Under Saddam Hussain, there was peace. He was a despot. But, he held the country together. Now, it is a democracy. But, the human life is so cheap.
I have no hope that Iraq will recover from this and the peace will return to it."