New Delhi: Harjit Masih, the only survivor among the 40 Indians kidnapped by the terror group ISIS in Mosul, has claimed that he had been told by Indian officials to not say that his fellow construction workers had died.
- Harjit Masih is the only survivor among 40 Indians kidnapped by ISIS
- He was kept in "protective custody" after he returned to India
- Government didn't accept his claims that he'd seen others being executed
The 24-year-old was part of the group that was kidnapped in 2014 while trying to escape an ISIS siege on June 11, 2014. After he returned to India, the government had kept him in "protective custody" as Foreign Minister had told parliament in November 2014. Mr Masih has all along claimed to have seen his compatriots being executed, a version the government did not accept.
"They (the officers who dealt with me in protective custody) lured me with the promise of a job and told me to say that the others were not dead. They told me to say I don't know (about the others) and that I escaped," Mr Masih told NDTV.
Claiming that he did not remember the names of the officers who handled him, Mr Masih said he was treated well while in protective custody during which he was kept in "Delhi, Gurgaon, Bangalore and Greater Noida".
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who told parliament on Tuesday that the 39 Indians had been killed, later said it had been established that Harjit Masih had lied.
He had not survived a massacre as he had claimed but escaped with a group of Bangladeshi colleagues under the name of "Ali" and was found by Indian officials at Erbil, Ms Swaraj told reporters.
"We asked how he reached Erbil, but he kept saying 'I don't know...just get me out'," said the minister.
Sticking to his stand that all the Indian workers, including him, were fired at by terrorists, Harjit Masih told NDTV that he had used a different name as "they would have killed me if I had said my name is Harjit and I am an Indian."