41 Indians in ISIS custody  are safe, govt assures RS

Sushma says that though the govt does not have any direct contact with  them, the information from indirect sources sconfirms they are all alive

NEW DELHI : Sharing 3-hour long concern by all parties in the Rajya Sabha over the Indians trapped in the violence-torn Iraq, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said all 41 Indians kidnapped by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria) are fine and alive.

She said, “efforts are being made for their release.” Responding to a member fearing that several Indians are already dead during a discussion on a call-attention motion, she urged the members not to believe in rumours as “the kidnapped Indians are safe and I am awaiting them as mother awaits the return of her children.”

“We have knocked every door, and leaving no stone unturned,” she said, admitting that the government does not have any direct contact with the Indians but the information gathered through the indirect sources shows that they are all alive.

She, however, declined to give any details on the talks for their release, as such negotiations require secrecy and hence she can not disclose everything. All she can share is that she has spoken to foreign ministers, ambassadors and others who can be helpful to release  kidnapped persons.Dismissing reports of a Malayali businessman playing crucial role in rescue of 46 Indian citizens, she said if he were so influential, let him help in release of 41 people and she will recommend him for the Padma Shri award. As regards an Indian warship sent to Iraq, Swaraj said INS Mysore was in the area for many days but it has been called back as it was not needed. Pointing out that the government has already brought home nearly 4,900 Indians from Iraq since it was embroiled in the conflict, Swaraj urged the parliamentarians to convince everyone they know in Iraq and Libya to return to India. She said the government’s stress is now to safely extricate the Indians from Libya as it is no longer a safe country.

She pointed out that many countries like United States, Britain and France have shut down their embassies, while the Indian embassy is working 24 hours and additional officers have been sent from here.

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