Sushma shares information with families after V.K. Singh’s visit to Iraq
Iraq has informed that 39 Indians abducted three years ago by the Islamic State (IS) are probably imprisoned by the outfit in the city of Badush, near Mosul.
In her first briefing after the liberation of Mosul from the IS, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday informed the family members of the missing nationals, that the latest information was provided by a high-level official of Iraq and more information about them would be known when her Iraqi counterpart, Ibrahim Al Jaafari, visits India on July 24.
‘Fighting still on’
“The day Iraq PM declared Mosul as liberated from IS, I asked [Minister of State] V.K. Singhji to go to Erbil. Sources in Iraq told him that the missing Indians are most probably in a jail in Badush where fighting is still going on,” Ms. Swaraj told the families.
Explaining the Minister’s comments, Gurpinder Kaur, leader of the delegation of the 39 families, told The Hindu that the government believed that the latest information was reliable as it was shared by high-level officials with General (Retd.) V.K. Singh, who returned from Iraq after visiting various spots.
“We were briefed, that Iraqi national security adviser had told General V.K. Singh about the possibility that the men are imprisoned in Badush,” Ms. Kaur said.
In her briefing, Ms. Swaraj said an authoritative official had informed General Singh that the Indians were deployed on a hospital construction site and then shifted to a farm. They were then taken to a jail in Badush, near western Mosul, where fighting between the IS and Iraqi forces is going on.
This briefing was one of the largest organised on the case, which was reported soon after the NDA government came to power in May 2014. Besides Ms. Swaraj, General Singh, another Minister of State M.J. Akbar and senior Ministry officials were present. Family members of the 39 men who came from Punjab and other parts of the country attended the meeting held at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan of the Ministry.
More updates to follow
Ms. Swaraj said Mr. Jaafari is scheduled to visit India on July 24 and may bring updated information about the missing men. The men went missing in June 2014 after Mosul fell to the IS. She has met the family members on several occasions. However, the family members were not satisfied with the information provided. “We did not know about their condition in 2014, and we know nothing better as of now. This is the reality and we expressed our frustration with the officials,” said Ms. Kaur.