Day before yesterday was the unfortunate date that marked the completion of two years since 39 Indian workers in Mosul, Iraq went missing. For two years, now, and counting, their families have been in pain, tormented by the suffering their loved ones must be going through, while waiting endlessly for any news regarding the same.
On June 15, 2014, 40 Indian workers, employed at a construction company were abducted in Iraq. The ISIS is claimed to be the prime suspect. Of the 40, one man, Harjeet Masih, managed an escape and was flown safely to India. Sadly, though, this was the only positive event we ever witnessed regarding the issue. The rest of the 39 Indians have, till date, not been heard from again.
The sorrow of the families is exacerbated by the lack of any concrete knowledge of the whereabouts of their loved ones; they are not sure anymore if the Indians abducted are even alive today. After Harjeet was flown back, along with two Bangladeshi workers, he went on record claiming the rest of the 39 men had been shot by the abductors. He stated the abductors were armed with guns and originally took 53 men captive, who were then segregated based on their religion. 13 men who were Bangladeshi were then set free. The Indians were all shot dead. Harjeet escaped pretending to be dead. A few senior Kurdish officials, too, have stated that the captives are most likely not alive anymore. “From all information we have, our assessment is, regrettably, that the Indian workers were shot dead near Badoush (in Mosul) within days of being taken hostage by the Islamic State, and then buried in a mass grave near Sahaji,” The Indian Express quoting senior Kurdish officials reported.
The families have met the External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, a number of times. The EAM firmly maintains that the men are alive and negotiations are underway to ensure their release. Although no solid evidence has been provided yet in favour of the government’s statement, they say they have been receiving credible input from three West Asian governments over the past year, which points them to believe that at least a few of the men are still alive. The families, caught up between all that is going on, are still waiting, without any knowledge of the condition of their loved ones.
The Logical Indian reaches out to all 39 families; we understand the hardship they are going through and wish them strength to deal with this difficult phase of life. We hope the facts are soon ascertained, and the men, if alive, are released and brought back at the earliest.