Two years have passed since 39 Indians, mostly Punjabis, were kidnapped in Iraq. But till date, their families haven’t received any news about them from the Centre. Even after a series of meetings with Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the families of the missing youths have no information about their whereabouts. Even after several pleas and appeals, their ordeal seems to be unending.
It was June 2014 when the youth were made hostages in the factory of a construction company called Tariq Noor al-Huda- in Mosul where they were working. They were made hostage along with 52 other youths (40 Indian and remaining Bangladeshis). Most of these Punjabi youths were in touch with their families till June 15 to 18, 2014 but after that there have been no communication.
However, hoping to see them someday soon, they have repeatedly ignored the claims of Gurdaspur resident Harjeet Masih, who had been kidnapped by ISIS, but later managed to escape. Harjeet believes that all the 39 youths have been killed.
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“Every day I wait in hope to get some news about my husband. Sometimes, I even get up during the night and step out of my room to see whether he had come or not,” says Anita Rani wife of Gurdeep Singh of Jaitpur village in Hoshiarur district.
A mother of two, Anita says she has even paid visits to several astrologers hoping to get some information about her husband. “I have even visited several astrologers who told me that he was safe. But they coudn’t tell when he will return home,” she adds.
With no bread winner in the house, she is totally dependent on government aide of Rs 20,000, which she receives every month.
Like Anita, Usha Rani, wife of Surjit Menka (35) of Chuharwali village, claims that the wait has become unbearable in such an uncertain situation. “The Foreign Minister says their sources told them that the youth were safe. But if they are safe then why is the government delaying their return,” she says.
Shimbo, mother of kidnapped Kulwinder Singh, hopes for a miracle. “We are not sure about his fate but still we want to wait for him. Miracles do happen,” she says. She has been living with her daughter-in-law and two grandchildren and works as a daily wage labourer to run the house.
“The Foreign Minister always tell us that our sons are safe and will be brought back. The wait is unbearable,” she says