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Indians stranded in Iraq: Family members appeal to foreign ministry for help

Thursday, 19 June 2014 - 2:18pm IST | Agency: PTI

Family members of some of the youths from Punjab who are stuck in Iraq following violence unleashed there by Islamist militants have urged the Centre to ensure the safe and early return of the Indian nationals. The workers, mostly from Punjab and other parts of north India, were working on a construction project in Mosul in northern Iraq, which has been captured by Sunni militant group, ISIS. There are about 40 Punjabi boys in Mosul who were working there for the last 10 months for a company called Tarikh Noor-ul-Huda.

The panic-stricken family members of six such youths, living in villages near Amritsar, have appealed to the Centre for help in securing their early return. 

A resident of Majitha village, Gurpinder Kaur said that her brother Manjinder Singh was lured by a travel agent who first sent him to Dubai but later put him in Iraq, where he has now got stuck. Manjinder was among the youths from Punjab working with one of the Iraqi companies which were closed down after the area was captured by militants. Kaur said that her brother had called her two days back and said that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants were taking care of them and wanted to help them leave Iraq. She said she was in touch with the Indian embassy in Baghdad and had also sent a request to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj seeking assistance in the matter from the government. But she added that the Ministry of External Affairs was yet to provide any information about the Punjabi youths stranded in Iraq.

However, the Union Government had told them that it has sent officials to Iraq for negotiations.

The mother of another of the youths stuck in Iraq, Mohinder Kaur, said that Swaraj had told them that the government was taking all possible steps to address the issue of the kidnapping of the Indian nationals. Kaur expressed an apprehension that most of the youth from Punjab who went to Iraq had done so without proper travel documents.

Ranjit Kaur, whose son Jatinder Singh is trapped in Mosul, said she had last spoken to him on Sunday before all contact with him was lost. 

Some of the youths from villages close to Amritsar who are stranded in Iraq have been identified as Manjinder Singh (24), Harsimranjit Singh (23), Gurcharan Singh (32), Jatinder Singh (30), Sonu (33) and Kamaljit Singh Rupowali (35).

For latest on the Iraq crisis, follow live updates here.




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