Published: Thu, July 27, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

I'll be the first person to inform about missing Indians

I'll be the first person to inform about missing Indians

After Iraqi President Haider al-Abadi declared Iraqi forces and their allies had defeated ISIS in Mosul earlier this month, Swaraj said she sent Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Vijay Kumar Singh to the northern Kurdish Iraqi city of Erbil in order to investigate any leads, The Times of India reported. "By not declaring them dead", Swaraj said in a strong counter to those accusing her of failing to provide correct information on the missing Indians. "The House should tell me if I should stop the search or continue to trace them as six sources give an optimistic response", she told. "I will not do this sin", said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Iraq has announced it's offering financial rewards for information regarding the whereabouts of dozens of Indian citizens believed to have been kidnapped by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in 2014.

On Thursday after the Lok Sabha session began its question hour, Sushma sought permission to respond to questions raised by Bajwa and other members regarding 39 Indians missing in Mosul.

Following reports in the media that the Badush jail building had been demolished, the Minister was blamed for misleading the nation on the 39 Indians. "He told me that in Iraq it is said that wait is worse than death", Swaraj said. I have no proof that Indians are dead...

"We don't know whether they are dead or alive".

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The external affairs minister also cited an example of when the Congress government declaring a soldier as a martyr in the 1971 war, and after 45 years, it was found that he was in a jail in Pakistan.

"If someone feels they are dead, you are free to go to the families".

Forty Indians, majority from Punjab, went missing in June 2014 after Mosul fell to the Islamic State.

"If I mislead anyone, what advantage would I gain? What benefit will my Government get by misleading the people on the issue", she asked. She said she won't rest until she finds out where they were. The government, Swaraj said, has been in touch with countries in the region, including Turkey, which can help India in the case.

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