KOLKATA: Two migrants from West Bengal who were among the 39 Indians massacred by Islamic State militants were artisans who had gone to Iraq to refurbish woodwork at one of the palaces of slain president Saddam Hussein.
Khokan Sikdar (48) was from Ilsamari village, under Tehatta police station, and Samar Tikadar (40) was from Mahakhola village, under Chapra police station, in Nadia district.
Both went to Iraq in 2011 to work in Saddam Hussein’s palace in Mosul. The duo went missing in 2014 after Islamic State overran the palace and turned it into their local headquarters and training centre.
Samar Tikadar’s wife, Dipali, told media persons that her husband had called her just before the IS takeover and said, “I am in danger.” He went missing shortly after that. The palace was liberated by a coalition of Iraqi troops, Shia militia and Kurdish forces in 2017.
After their husbands went missing, the wives of the two men met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and they were appointed as Anganwadi workers to help them earn a living.
After receiving news of the death of the Indians in Mosul, the Trinamool Congress supremo tweeted: “Deeply saddened and shocked with the very sad news from #Mosul. Words are not enough to console the 39 grieving families. Our thoughts and prayers (are) with them.”