Fate unknown of Indians abducted in 2014

Sushma Swaraj

Al-Jaafari's comment came on the first day of his four-day visit to India amid increasing criticism that the Indian government had given false hope to the families of the 39 Indians by saying that they were still alive. "We are doing our best", he said.

When ISIS captured Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in 2014, 40 Indians were known to be working in a factory there. Al-Jaafari, who is on a visit to India from July 24 to July 28, met with Swaraj at Jawaharlal Nehru for a discussion on bilateral relations between the two nations.

This was revealed by the Iraqi Minister during his meeting with Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

She said they had information that the Indians were in a jail in Badush, which lies in ruins now.

The abducted workers, mostly from northern India, had been employed by a construction company near Mosul when militants overran the Iraqi city and seized wide swathes of territory.

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Meanwhile, a Punjab government official said that they were in touch with the External Affairs Ministry "to ensure that all efforts are made to trace the missing Indians and to get them back home safely". He said the government initially said the Indians were in Mosul.

The remarks by Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim Al Jafari is significant because Swaraj had said last week that, according to information available with the Indian government, the Indians were probably lodged in the Badush jail. Media report from Badush had also suggested that the jail was an abandoned structure. We have no substantial evidence that they were killed or they were still alive, so we can't say anything to you in that regard.

Family members of the other missing persons said that from the Iraqi minister's statement, it was clear that the Indian government does have any concrete information about the missing. "We will do our utmost in the case, but it may take time", he said.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh was also sent to Iraq days after the Iraqi prime minister announced victory in the fight to liberate Mosul.

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