NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday sought Parliament to make a joint appeal to the captors of 41 Indian construction workers in Iraq to release them as a “Ramadan gift”.
“The holy month of Ramadan is on. The House should appeal to those who have took the 41 Indians captives to release them before the Eid as a special gift,” she said in the Lok Sabha in reply to a calling attention motion on the situation in Iraq.
She pointed out that India had “very good historical relations” with Iraq. Sushma also noted that India had refused to send troops to Iraq despite request from the US Government. “It must be recalled that several years ago, it was this House that had passed a resolution and we did not send our Armed Forces to Iraq,” the minister said.
On the 41 construction workers, Sushma said 31 of them were from Punjab, four each from Himachal Pradesh and Bihar and two from West Bengal. Asked about the government’s plans to rescue them, the minister said it was important to maintain secrecy over its next move. “Did you get to know our plan when we got the 46 nurses from Kerala released?” she asked.
Sushma, however, said she had personally spoken to all her counterparts in the Gulf countries.