The Tribune – Iraq action rekindles their hopes

Families of missing workers make efforts to get in touch with Punjabis in Gulf country

Rachna Khaira, Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, 11 Jul 2017. “He must be 44 by now and longing to return home. Though in the past three years, we had lost all hope, the liberation of Mosul by Iraqi forces has given us a new lease of life,” said Amarjit Kaur, wife of Gobinder Singh of Murar village in Kapurthala, who, along with 38 youths, was kidnapped from his factory situated in the heart of the city in June 2014.

Life seems to have taken an optimistic turn for Gurpinder Kaur also as she waits anxiously for the return of her only brother, Manjinder Singh of Amritsar. “All these years, we were assured by the Indian Government that our kin were safe and will return home as soon as the city gets liberated from the ISIS militants.

Now since it has been four days that the city has been freed, what is stopping the government to get them back home safely,” asked Gurpinder hoping to tie all rakhi threads on her brother’s wrist which she had kept with her for the past three years.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul to congratulate Iraq’s armed forces on claiming the city from the ISIS. Soon after the declaration was made, family members of the abducted Punjabi youth started making frantic calls to the Ministry of External Affairs to know more.

However, all they were told was that Union Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh will travel to Iraq to coordinate with the government there.

While the last three years were hell-like for all these families, repeated assurances by Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj kept their hopes alive.

Meanwhile, families have begun making efforts to get in touch with Indians working there.

“I was told that even though the city has been freed of ISIS militants, things are still messy and it will take at least a week for the situation to improve. While communication lines were resumed in many areas, we have not received any call from any of our kin,” said Gurpinder.

“I am hopeful of seeing my husband again,” said Manjeet Kaur of Chak Des Raj village. Her husband Davinder Singh had gone missing in Iraq.

While these families are trying hard to stick to the belief of seeing their men alive, no news from the other side of the world is testing their patience and hope.


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