New Delhi, July 16: After meeting the families of 39 missing Indian citizens in Iraq, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said she instructed the Minister of State V K Singh to leave for Iraq to rescue the stranded Indians. Singh left for Erbil in Iraq when Iraqi forces declared the liberation of Mosul from the clutches of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Swaraj further informed the relatives, they might be locked in a jail in Badush where the fighting between the ISIS and Iraqi forces is continued. Despite all the efforts, the missing person could not be brought back to India.
Earlier, the Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said the location of the missing Indians were still not known. “As and when we get any information on the 39, we will let you know.We remain engaged very sincerely and very seriously at a high level (with Iraqi authorities).”
He said Iraqi officials had said they had sensitised their security agencies. “If they see any Indian, not just these 39, but any Indian, we have requested them to inform us,” the spokesperson said. Iraqi forces liberated Mosul on last Sunday after 266 days of fierce battles, bringing to an end three years of IS rule.
The 39 Indian construction workers, mostly from Punjab, were taken hostage in 2014. However, no demand was made for their release.
Singh reached Baghdad on Wednesday and handed over a letter from External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari in this connection.
(With inputs from IANS)