External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has assured Punjab CM Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, who had been held hostage in Mosul since 2014.
Reacting to reports that the families of the Indian hostages were trying to locate their kin after the release of Mosul by Iraq from the ISIS forces, Captain Amarinder called up Sushma on Monday afternoon to seek her active intervention in the matter.
In his telephonic conversation with the minister, the Chief Minister said the families of the hostages were keenly awaiting the return of their kin following Iraq’s victory over ISIS in Mosul and needed the central government’s support in bringing back their family members.
Swaraj assured Amarinder of all possible efforts by her ministry to bring back the Indians who were kidnapped by terror group ISIS from a construction site in Mosul.
She said Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd) V K Singh had been sent to Iraq to coordinate with its government and facilitate the return of the Indians stuck there, a spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
Air India officials at the airports had also been instructed to facilitate their return, said Sushma, adding that her ministry had activated all available sources to trace the missing Indians, who were last heard of hiding in a church in Mosul, the spokesperson added.
While Sushma has held several meetings with the families of the hostages since the abduction, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also been raising the issues with other countries in the Middle East region.
The Union minister said she had also directed the Indian embassy to extend all help to the stranded people from the country.
While Sushma had held several meetings with the families of the hostages over the months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also been raising the issues with other countries in the Middle East region.
The Chief Minister said he was hopeful the 39 Indians would be back home soon, now that Mosul was no longer in the control of ISIS.
A man from Punjab, Harjit Masih, who escaped from the clutches of the terror organization in June 2014 had claimed that the 39 Indian nationals had been killed.
However, the External Affairs Ministry had maintained that it had no information confirming that the Indians were dead.
The Indian nationals were taken hostage by the IS on June 11, 2014, in northern Iraq's Mosul town.