Union minister of external affairs Sushma Swaraj said that the 39 Indians missing in Iraq since 2014 might actually be alive and imprisoned, by ISIS terrorists, search operations have commenced with renewed zeal.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj met the relatives of the workers, mostly from Punjab, last week.
She said that the government had received information that the workers were probably in a jail at Badush near Mosul.
A media report from Badush said on Saturday that the jail now was no more than an “abandoned structure that has been unoccupied for weeks, if not months”.
“An official who quoted intelligence sources told Gen Singh that they were deployed for a hospital construction and then in a farm. From there, they were sent to a jail in Badush. There has been no information since then,” said Swaraj.
MoS V K Singh had been sent to Erbil to trace the missing Indians immediately after news broke out that Mosul had been freed by IS. MEA on Saturday did not react to reports that the Badush jail no longer existed.
BJP president Amit Shah said in Jaipur, “the government is not misleading anybody. The search is on.” Iraq’s ambassador to India.
“We really have no information about what really happened to them. The border between Iraq and Syria was open for long and it is possible that the captives might have been transferred to IS-controlled areas in Syria,” said Al Issa.
Al Issa also said that his government is cooperating with Indian authorities over the issue.
The government’s information in the past has been based on intelligence received from foreign countries and from its sources in Iraq.
It must be said here that there has never been any conclusive information to prove that the Indian workers were dead.
For a while, when there was no information available, the government had maintained that there was nothing to prove that they were dead, or even alive.
Masih had claimed that all 39 Indians had been killed.
In her annual press conference last year, Swaraj questioned Masih’s claim saying two heads of states in the Gulf region told her, PM Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee that the Indians were alive.