M A I N   N E W S

39 Indian workers in captivity in Iraq unharmed: Govt
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 23
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is trying to shift all Indians from the conflict zone in Iraq, said MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Monday.

He said, “We had indicated that 120 Indians are in the conflict zone and 17 had been shifted.” He confirmed that 39 Indian construction workers in captivity in strife-torn Mosul were ‘unharmed’.

He said the government was working at different levels to assist the Indians in the Islamic nation. Efforts to ensure the safety and security of Indians in Iraq are gaining momentum with various doors opening at various levels, he said.

He said the government was proceeding systematically and carefully.

There were 12 major companies where Indians were working. Over 2,500 Indians were working in a company in Najaf. “We have requests from many Indians that they want to return. The company has managed to send back 28 of them.”

He said the government was in regular touch with all companies. “We had received requests in our mission in Baghdad from 120 Indians. We had 300 requests - 100 for evacuation, 100 requests to trace the relatives and rest are about general security.”

On the fate of 46 Indians nurses, he said, “They are safe and we are constantly in touch with them.”

Regarding reports of the death of an Indian, he said, “I’ve asked the embassy to check. Our embassy does not have any information yet. It happened in southern Iraq, which is out of the conflict zone, so we will follow the normal procedure.”

The Indian mission would help the workers in obtaining passports to return, as their passports would have been taken away by the employers under the labour laws there. But, sources said it would not be able to help Indians because of their contractual obligations under which most would have to forfeit their pay for wanting to return home. 





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