“Din chad janda te raat pe jandi hai, pher raat pe jandi hai te din chad janda hai.” (The day rises and night falls. The night falls and then the day rises.)
This is how Harbhajan Kaur (49) describes her life since her son Harsimranjit Singh was taken captive by the Islamic State in Iraq along with 38 other Indians in June 2014. But in the past few weeks, Harbhajan and her husband Tarsem Singh have been excitedly calling families of the other victims. The reason: Iraqi security forces are now in Mosul, the Iraqi city from where their son was captured.
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If Iraqi troops liberate Mosul, the families believe, there are chances that their family members will be found.
This is what the government too has led them to believe. On October 6, the families met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who told them that Mosul would be liberated soon, and that would help them find out what happened to the missing men.
On Wednesday, Harbhajan was worried that the air strikes by Iraqi forces on Mosul may harm her son. “Someone has told me that air strikes are conducted after confirming the location, and civilians are not hurt. But then air strikes have hit the entire city of Aleppo in Syria,” said Harbhajan.
The couple own a small shop attached to the house. They also own two acres of land. The mothers of some other missing youths are in touch with Harbhajan because she follows the news closely. “Because I understand news a little better than them, they keep calling me. The number of times we call each other has increased since the Iraqi forces went into Mosul,” she said.
“On October 6, we had a two-hour meeting with Sushma Swaraj. She showed us a two-page letter from her source which said 39 missing Indians were seen in Mosul. She also spoke to me separately. She is very confident,” said Harbhajan.
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