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All efforts on to rescue abducted Indian workers in Iraq, says govt
June 19, 2014, 1:38 pm
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Mothers of Manjinder Singh and Ranjeet Singh who are believed to be trapped in the troubled city of Mosul (Iraq), showing their sons' photographs in Amritsar.

The government will "leave no stone unturned" to free 40 Indian construction workers abducted in strife-torn northern Iraq, said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday.

"I'm personally supervising efforts. Will leave no stone unturned to ensure rescue of our citizens," said Swaraj in Delhi where she is scheduled to meet families of the abducted workers later in the day.

"All efforts are underway to rescue the Indians," she was quoted by PTI as saying.

An external affairs ministry official, who did not want to be named, told the Hindustan Times that Iraq government officials had told India that the abductees were safe but their whereabouts were not known.

The external affairs ministry announced on Wednesday that the 40 workers had been abducted in recent days in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which Sunni militants have overrun in a deadly ongoing insurgency. The ministry said no demands for ransom had been made and the workers' whereabouts, along with who was responsible for the abductions, were not known.

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have taken over vast swathes of territory as they advance on Baghdad, amid fears that the country could fall apart.

With details of the abduction sketchy, other families said they feared for the fate of the workers, who had been earning money on construction projects to send back home.

"We are hearing all sorts of news from Iraq, visuals on the television are frightening and we are very worried about him," Ranjit Kaur told the Hindustan Times of her son Jatinder Singh.

Parkash Singh Badal--chief minister of Punjab, where most of the workers come from--said "we are ready to bear all the expenses for bringing them back."

Humanitarian agencies and the Iraqi government have confirmed the abduction of the workers, who were employed by the Tariq Noor Al Huda construction company, the ministry said.

About 10,000 Indian nationals are currently in Iraq with some 100 caught in violence-hit areas, the ministry added.

"All efforts are underway to rescue the Indians," she was quoted by PTI as saying. - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/iraqonthebrink/govt-says-all-efforts-on-to-rescue-abducted-workers-in-iraq/article1-1231113.aspx#sthash.YMX86Avh.dpuf
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