As Iraq forces moved to free Mosul from the clutches of the Islamic State (IS) a couple of days ago, Harbhajan Kaur of Babowal village in Amritsar eagerly awaited for some good news. Her son, Harsimranjit Singh, is among the 39 Indians missing in the country since the last two years. They were allegedly kidnapped by the terrorist group.
Everyday she tunes into France 24 and DD News, hoping for some of the information that minster for external affairs (MEA) Sushma Swaraj promised earlier this month.
“Sawraj had told us that Mosul will be free soon and would help get some information about my son and others trapped along with him,” she said. The Indian government, she said, had told the victim families time and again said that they had been seen in Mosul.
“Sushma told us the Indian government has an office in Erbil (a city 350kms north of Baghdad, the Iraq capital) and that their contact had seen them (missing Indian workers) working in Mosul. Sushma said that it was fresh information. She had said that Iraq forces will be in Mosul soon.”
Last year, a man named Harjit Singh, who claimed to have escaped the IS said the terrorist group had killed the 39 missing Indians. However, the government strongly refuted this.
“One thing Sushma stressed is that Harjit Masih has been lying,” said Kaur.
“We have always been wanted the Iraqi forces to capture Mosul from IS. Their government can then put in efforts to locate our men,” said Anita from Jaitpur village in Hoshiarpur whose husband Gurdeep Singh is believed to be in Iraq.
“Our government always claimed they were alive but could not give us a single proof-of-life till date,” said Krishna mother of kidnapped Parminder Kumar of Jagatpur village in Nawanshashr district. She hoped the new offensive would succeed and end their years of agony.