NEW DELHI: A Congress member in the Rajya Sabha today raised the issue of 39 missing Indian nationals in Iraq for the past three years and asked the government to provide information about their fate.
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, Pratap Singh Bajwa said 40 Indians, of whom 90 per cent were from Punjab, were kidnapped in Iraq by the ISIS in 2014.
The Congress member said one Harjit, who had managed to escape, in a statement had claimed that the remaining 39 youths had been shot dead.
Bajwa said the External Affairs Minister, on the other hand, was informed that these people were alive.
On Sunday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that 39 Indians abducted in Iraq by the ISIS three years ago may be lodged in a jail in Badush in northwest Mosul in Iraq.
He said that the minister had earlier said on the floor of the House that the youth were alive and in Mosul.
Observing that Mosul has now been freed from ISIS, Bajwa said the government is now saying that 39 Indians have been taken to a village about 30 kms away from the town. "Tell us where are our youths," the Congress member said.
Referring to the visit of Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh to Iraq, Bajwa suggested that the government should have sent an all-party delegation along with the minister and "ensure that those people are either brought in or their parents and relatives should be told that they are no longer alive".
"Don't mislead the country and Parliament," he said.