National

Missing Indians may have been jailed: Swaraj

Prime News, National (New Delhi), July 16:- The 39 Indians abducted by ISIS in Iraq are at a jail in Badush, and attempts are on to liberate them, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said today after holding a meeting with the families. Badush is a village 31 km away from Mosul, which was liberated from ISIS on July 10. Though fighting is on in the village the defeat of the ISIS in Mosul has raised hopes for the liberation of the jail, where the ISIS had massacred more than 650 Shia prisoners in June 2014.

The Indians – construction workers who are mostly from Punjab – had been abducted in 2014. They had been working at a hospital construction site, from where they were shifted to a farm. Sources in Iraq had told VK Singh, the junior foreign minister, that the missing Indians are most likely to have been kept in a jail in Badush, Ms Swaraj said. More information will come only after fighting at Badush ends, she added.

“We called all family members of those who were abducted in Iraq,” Ms Swaraj said. “I have already met them 9 or 10 times, but this time the situation was different as the Iraqi prime minister declared that Mosul has been liberated from the ISIS. That very day I told VK Singh to go to Iraq and try to evacuate our people,” the minister added.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi recently declared Mosul liberated from the ISIS. But Ms Swaraj said though eastern Mosul has been liberated, the Iraqi forces are still checking some buildings and civilians cannot enter the area.

The fall of Mosul marked the end of the Iraqi half of the ISIS rule, which also includes territory in Syria.

In June, the government had said the abducted Indians were alive and “everything possible” was being done to ensure their safe return. “The information we have so far is that they are alive because we have no other information to prove that they are not alive,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay had told reporters. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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