Upset by the revelations of Harjit Masih, the 40th hostage who escaped IS militants in Iraq, the family of the other 39 men now want the Indian government to immediately clear the air about their fate. The frustrated families are also unsure of whom to trust: Masih, who claims that all 39 have been killed or the government, which disagrees with him. “On one hand, Masih is claiming that the abducted Indians have been killed and on the other, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is saying that there are eight sources who say that the abducted Indians are not dead. No one has any proof to substantiate their claims,” said Sarwan Singh, a resident of Singoana in Amritsar district whose brother Nishan Singh is among the 39 men whose fate is unclear.
It’s a sentiment shared by the other families.
“We urge the government to tell us the truth as we are ready to listen. Do not test our patience,” said Manjit Kaur, sister-in-law of Jasbir Singh of Mehandpur village in Nawanshahr, who is among the kidnapped men.
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“I will not say anything until I meet Harjit Masih in person,” said Gurpinder Kaur, whose brother Manjinder Singh, a resident of Bhoewal village, was among those abducted by IS militants last year. Gurpinder had led the campaign to get information about the men.
Shimbo, mother of Kulwinder Singh (25), was inconsolable as Masih’s statements reached her. “How can we believe the government when it has not been able to contact our sons,” she said. Kulwinder hails from Khan Ke Fatehgarh village in Jalandhar and went to Iraq in September last year.
Malkiat Singh, brother of Nand Lal of Talwan village in Jalandhar, said he does not trust Masih because the Centre, he added, has assured him that his brother and the other kidnapped men would be brought back soon.
For Krishna, the mother of kidnapped Parminder Kumar of Jagatpur village in Nawanshashr district, the government has been giving false hopes to the families. “We have been crying day and night but government is hiding things,” she said.
“The government must be knowing why the terrorists have kidnapped poor youth and what has been done to them. The long wait is becoming intolerable now,” said Amarjit kaur, wife of Gobinder Singh of Marar village of Kapurthala.
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