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Indians located, but there is ‘no safety in captivity’: Govt

The government said Indian embassy in Baghdad was "persistently" following the matter with Iraqi authorities.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: June 19, 2014 10:05 pm
The workers, mostly from Punjab and other parts of northern India, were working on a construction project in Mosul in northern Iraq. (Source: AP) The workers, mostly from Punjab and other parts of northern India, were working on a construction project in Mosul in northern Iraq. (Source: AP)

The government on Thursday said it knew the location of the 40 Indian construction workers who were abducted near the town of Mosul in war-torn Iraq, and efforts were on through multiple channels, including the government in Baghdad, to secure their release.

The Ministry of External Affairs said it had received official information from the Iraqi government on the detention and location of the workers, who were being held captive along with workers from other countries.

Asked if the Indians were safe, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “There is no safety in captivity.”

“At this stage I will not be able to share information on either the location of that place or what the Iraqi authorities had shared with us,” the spokesperson said. Indian officials in Baghdad were in touch with the Iraqi government, he said.

“We have been informed by the Iraqi foreign ministry that they have been able to determine the location of where these abducted Indian nationals are being held captive with workers of a few other nationalities,” Akbaruddin said.

“Every avenue (to secure the workers’ release) will be pursued. Every channel will be examined. We will utilise every opportunity to ensure safety and security of our nationals,” the spokesperson said, adding that no ransom demand had been made yet.

The MEA’s Secretary, East, Anil Wadhwa, has had conversations with the Iraqi Ambassador in India, Ahmad Tahsin Ahmad Berwari, twice. India’s former ambassador to Iraq, Suresh Reddy, has reached Baghdad.

Officials said that the crisis management group set up in Delhi met twice on Thursday. They declined to discuss the details of contingency plans to rescue the stranded citizens, but said that at least two major airports at Erbil and Baghdad were currently functional.

Families of the kidnapped Indians met with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday. “All efforts are under way (to rescue them). I am personally supervising the efforts. We are leaving no stone unturned to ensure their return,” Swaraj said in the morning.

Harbhajan Kaur, the mother of Harsimranjit Singh of Babowal village, who is among the abducted workers, said the minister had assured them of every possible help, and told them that the government was “taking stock of the situation every five minutes”.


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  1. A
    Jun 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm
    any excuse to sav modi. cult of personality of modi more important than lives of indians and within a month modi hot air blowing away. alll the talk of AK 49 is gone now and we are told it's only on month and its so hard, oh gee, oh no. or is it being from Punjab these men don' matter? it's time for Modi to start with actions not words acche din agai?
    1. Jagdish Jain
      Jun 20, 2014 at 12:43 am
      India has no resources to save these 'kidnapped' workers. All this talk is Public Relations work. Iraq and its government is under the threat of their own survival; they are not worried about a few workers from India or other poor countries. What you are seeing is the result of the criminal actions of Bush and Blair. Their shock and awe policy has brought this. The entire map of the Middle East will be re-shaped; Indian workers trapped there are like flies to be brushed aside despite the photo opportunity of Ms. Sishma Swaraj with the families of those workers.
      1. S
        Jun 19, 2014 at 2:40 pm
        When terrorists attacked Tajmahal hotel in Mumbai,no one could say when they would be flushed out.How can a newly elected government give a deadline to bring back those held hostage in a far away land where an open war is on.Congress can talk any non sense But if the government can save the lives of those held that will be a great achievement.