Mumbai, July 17: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday quoted information received from the Iraqi intelligence sources that rekindled the hope for the families of 39 Indians abducted in Iraq by the ISIS, three years ago. Sushma Swaraj said that these people might be lodged in a jail in Badush in the north-west of Mosul. Mosul was recently liberated by the Iraqi forces, however, Badush remains under the ISIS control. Swaraj mentioned that the Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jaafari, who is all set to visit India on July 24, might come with some more information about these 39 abducted Indians. These men who are abducted are mostly from Punjab.
The External Affairs Minister stated that the information was gathered by General (Retd) VK Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs. General VK Singh rushed to Erbil in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. It is the closest major city to Mosul. Singh held several meetings with the senior Iraqi officials, including many in Baghdad. Initial reports suggested that ISIS terrorists had kept the Indian workers at a church in Mosul. However, no traces of these abducted people were found post the city’s liberation by the Iraqi forces. “We remain engaged at a very senior level with the Iraqi authorities,” External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, reports DNA.
When Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi declared victory over the ISIS in Mosul, VK Singh left to gather the information. He met Kurdish leaders in Erbil and Iraqi leaders, including foreign minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, deputy foreign minister Nazar Khairallah, national security advisor Faleh Al-Fayyad and the secretary-general of Iraq’s council of ministers Mahdi Al-Alaq in Baghdad. Sushma Swaraj said that VK Singh told her that those abducted 39 Indians were deployed at a hospital construction site. They were later shifted to a farm. After that they were moved to a jail in Badush where the fight between ISIS and Iraqi forces was still going on. Swaraj said, “East Mosul has been completely freed from ISIS and now buildings are being sanitised and authorities are not allowing civilians to go there as there may be bombs and other explosives. In West Mosul, fighting is still on.”