Former Union Minister Preneet Kaur today urged the Centre to take "quick and effective measures" for the safety and security of Punjabis reported to have been kidnapped in Iraq.
"I am worried over the fate of Punjabis who have been reportedly held hostages in Iraq and I call upon the Government of India to take quick measures necessary to ensure their safety and security," the former minister of state for External Affairs said in a statement here.
"I also share the concern of the victims' families who are genuinely anxious over the plight of boys held hostages in Iraq and I express my sympathies with them," she said.
Punjabis have the largest NRI populace the world over and they are generally known to be hard-working and entrepreneurial, she said, adding, "It is very unfortunate that these boys have been entrapped in the turmoil; their safety and security is a matter of concern for all of us." Forty Indian construction workers, mostly from Punjab and other parts of northern India, have been kidnapped in the oil-rich Mosul town, presumably by Islamic militants but no ransom demands have been received yet.
The External Affairs Ministry earlier said that the location of the kidnapped workers has been identified by Iraqi authorities. Iraq is witnessing serious strife with militants, backed by Al-Qaeda, capturing various cities and marching towards Baghdad.