Friday, 28 November 2014

No proof of safety or killing of Indians kidnapped in Iraq: Sushma Swaraj............

NEW DELHI: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Friday that the government has no concrete proof of either the safety or killing of the 39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq in June. 

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha on Indians abducted in Iraq, Sushma Swaraj said: "We have information from six different sources that the 39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq in June have not been killed." 

"It is my responsibility to continue with the search on the basis of statements of these 6 sources," Swaraj added. 

Concerns about the safety of 39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq in June heightened on Thursday after a news channel claimed that only one of them was still alive. 

The channel sourced its story to two Bangladeshis who claimed to have spoken to the only survivor Indian, Harjeet. Government sources were quick to dismiss the claims saying their current information did not corroborate the claim. 

The channel said that 39 out of 40 Indian workers who went missing in Iraq in June may have been killed by Islamic State militants. The claim was based on interview of two Bangladeshi workers whom the channel spoke to in Kurdistan's capital Erbil. 

The two Bangladeshis, identified as Shafi and Hassan, claimed that an Indian worker Harjeet, who miraculously escaped from the clutches of the militants, told them that he witnessed the killings of all his Indian co-workers. Shafi said they were travelling to Mosul from Baghdad and were kidnapped by ISIS militants on the way. There were 51 Bangladeshis and 40 Indian workers in the kidnapped group. 

Harjeet told Shafi that on June 15, ISIS militants had taken all 40 Indians along with him to a hilly terrain where all of them were shot. Harjeet too suffered two bullet injuries but acted as if he was dead. The Indians are believed to have been kidnapped on June 10. 

Harjeet has been interviewed in the past by Indian agencies, who believe that his claims do not add up.