Thirty-nine Indians who went missing after Islamic State captured Mosul in 2014 are currently believed to be held in a prison in the Iraqi town of Badush, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj is said to have told their families on Sunday.
Delhi Gurdwara Sikh Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK, who accompanied the families to meet the minister on Sunday, said quoting her that latest reports from Iraq said that Indians were not in Mosul, but were being held captive in a prison in Badush — a town 16 km northwest of Mosul — where Iraqi forces are battling Islamic State militants.
The Indians, who were until now believed to be Mosul, were not found during sweeping search operations Iraqi forces conducted after its recapture, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was quoted as telling Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Retd) VK Singh when he visited Iraq soon after the city’s recapture.
Most of the missing are from Punjab. “Gen Singh returned from the outskirts of Badush since the battle is still going on,” he said, adding Swaraj promised to keep the families informed.
Swaraj has said she would meet the families after al-Jaafari’s visit to India on July 24.
Iraqi forces retook Mosul from the Islamic State last week after an eight-month campaign against the Islamist militants.
VK Singh went on a five-day tour to Iraq after Mosul was freed to find out about the Indians who have been untraceable since the Islamic State captured the city and established a so-called caliphate in 2014.