Not sure if 39 missing Indians are alive: Iraq (Second Lead)

Posted July 25, 2017

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on July 16, based on information gathered by minister VK Singh during his visit to the city after its recent "liberation" from ISIS, stated that the abducted Indians may be lodged in the jail, located in northwest Mosul.

"We don't know if they are dead or alive", said Al Jafari while interacting with journalists. "We are going to do our best, but till now we can not say anything about their fate", he was quoted as telling TV channels and news agencies.

Sushma Swaraj is expected to brief the Parliament today on the issue. "This is shocking that neither the Indian nor the Iraqi government has any input on the missing Indians", said Gurpinder Kaur, whose brother Manjinder Singh is among the missing persons.

"We all were keenly waiting for the visit of the Iraqi foreign minister".

The government has said all efforts are on to find the Indians and without information otherwise, the workers are still considered alive.

Referring to media reports that the jail in Badush where Swaraj said that abducted Indians may be languishing was in ruins, the main Opposition party alleged that she had "lost all credibility". He said some Islamic State held areas were still being cleared. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh was also sent to Iraq days after the Iraqi prime minister announced victory in the fight to liberate Mosul.

He is also to meet Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and later call on Vice President Hamid Ansari. Our robust bilateral trade amounted to almost US$ 13 billion in 2016-17.

More than 10,000 Indians fled Iraq amid the upsurge in violence in 2014, including dozens of nurses who were held briefly by suspected ISIS terrorists in Tikrit and Mosul before being allowed to return home.