New Delhi: 40 Indian construction workers have been kidnapped from Iraq's second-largest city of Mosul, which fell to Sunni insurgents last week.
"We have not received any calls of any nature from anyone who have indicated about ransom or any information that they have taken these people under their control," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin, adding the location of the kidnapped Indians is not known. (All Updates on Iraq Crisis)
The missing workers are largely from Punjab and were employed by a Baghdad-based company called Tariq Noor Al Huda.
About 10,000 Indian nationals are working in Iraq, mostly in areas unaffected by the fighting between the ISIS and the national army. About 100 Indian workers are trapped in areas overrun by ISIS, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. (Also Read: Obama Said to be Considering Airstrikes on Iraqi Militants)
The Indian government has contact with many of them, including 46 nurses. It has sent a senior envoy to Baghdad to support repatriation efforts.
The nurses are stranded in Tikrit, which is under militant control, with many of them holed up in the hospital where they work. (Read: We Are Like Prisoners, Say Stranded Kerala Nurses in Iraq to NDTV)
Humanitarian group The Red Crescent has contacted the nurses and confirmed that it is not safe for them to travel by road either to other hospitals or the nearest airport, said Mr Akbaruddin. (Read: Sunni Militants Control '75 Per Cent' of Iraq's Biggest Oil Refinery)
"A contingency planning unit in Delhi is looking at other options," he said, adding, "Several Indian nurses want to stay back."
ISIS fighters, who aim to establish a Muslim caliphate across the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, launched their revolt by seizing Mosul, and swept through the Tigris valley towards Baghdad. (Read: As Sunnis Die in Violence in Iraq, a Cycle is Restarting)