Not 100% Sure Whether 39 Indians Dead Or Alive, Iraqi Foreign Minister

The group of Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, was taken hostage by ISIS when it overran Iraq's second largest city Mosul in 2014.

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Not 100% Sure Whether 39 Indians Dead Or Alive, Iraqi Foreign Minister

The group of Indian labourers was taken hostage by ISIS when it overran Mosul in 2014. (File Photo)

New Delhi:  Iraq today said it is "not 100 per cent sure" whether 39 Indians kidnapped by ISIS in Mosul three years ago - who remain missing - are alive.

"We don't know whether they are dead or alive. We are equally concerned. We're not sure 100% they're alive or not, we don't know, we are going to do our best," Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari, who is on a five-day visit to India, told reporters here.

The group of Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, was taken hostage by ISIS when it overran Iraq's second largest city Mosul in 2014. The workers were trying to leave Mosul when they were intercepted.

The government has said all efforts are on to find the Indians and without information otherwise, the workers are still considered alive. Days after Mosul's liberation from ISIS was announced, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh was sent to Iraq.

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj has been accused of "misleading the nation, parliament and families" of the kidnapped Indians by the Congress, which says it may file a privilege motion.

Ms Swaraj had told the families of the workers that an Iraqi official, quoting intelligence sources, had told Mr Singh they were made to work at a hospital construction site and then shifted to a farm before they were put in a jail in Badush.

Partap Singh Bajwa, a lawmaker of the main opposition party, referred to media reports that the jail that Ms Swaraj referred to was in ruins and charged: "She has lost all credibility",

One of the captured Indians, Harjit Masih from Gurdaspur, had managed to escape and had claimed to have witnessed the massacre of the others. But the government has rejected it.

More than 10,000 Indians fled Iraq amid the upsurge in violence in 2014, including dozens of nurses who were held briefly by suspected ISIS terrorists in Tikrit and Mosul before being allowed to return home.

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