NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs assured that Indian nurses stuck in Tikrit Teaching Hospital remained unharmed, even as intense fighting continued outside their complex and the Iraqi army made inroads into the city. “As far as the nurses are concerned, let me confirm that just before I came here, our Ambassador did talk to them. They are unharmed and safe,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
Earlier in the day, Amnesty International India had issued a press release that the armed militant, suspected to be from Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had taken control over their government hospital.
However, the MEA official did not confirm any such information, reiterating that the nurses were safe. “I do not want to get in to what other people are putting out based on what their information is,” he said.
On Tuesday, he had noted that the nurses were living in the basement, due to the fighting. The Indian government hopes that the Iraqi security forces will manage to win this battle, which will solve the issue of evacuation of the nurses from their besieged complex. Meanwhile, the status of the other Indian construction workers, who were taken captive from Mosul, remained unchanged.
Regarding the Indians who are in the non-conflict zone, he said that approximately 530 of them have been provided tickets, with another 850 having their documentation processed.
“Currently, there are 350 passports that are being processed for Indian nationals from Najaf, 290 from Karbala, 190 from Basra and a few from Baghdad also. In Baghdad, there is no backlog because we have an embassy there and so all the work is up to date,” he said. About 290 Indians will be flying to Delhi, another 100 to Hyderabad, 16 to Mumbai, seven to Thiruvananthapuram, five to Kolkata and two each to Bangalore and Chennai.
India on ISIS Target List?
New Delhi: India is among the several countries that ISIS supremo Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has accused, in his Ramadan message, of having “seized” the rights of Muslims, indicating that these countries could be jehadi targets. However, the MEA dismissed any speculation on a major threat to the country.