External Affairs

Congress to Move Privilege Motion Against Sushma Swaraj on Missing Indians in Iraq

Sushma Swaraj

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj (centre) met family members of 39 Indian youths missing in Iraq since June 2014 in Delhi. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who is set to meet her Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jaafari today, will likely focus on the ongoing search for the 39 missing Indians in Iraq in the discussions. Swaraj, who was accused of misleading the families of the missing, could face backlash from the Congress party, which has said it will submit a privilege motion against her.

Congress’s Partap Singh Bajwa has said it was “shocking” that the minister had misled the families. A few days ago, Swaraj said that the missing youths were in a jail in Iraq’s Badush town, but Bajwa said that a TV news channel showed that the jail had been destroyed by ISIS three months ago, reported the Indian Express.

“She is the external affairs minister. She would have certainly known the truth about the youths. Still, she kept on misleading the families back home that they were safe and held hostage by ISIS,” Bajwa said, according to the Indian Express.

The labourers who are missing are mostly from Punjab and were taken hostage by ISIS in June 2014 when the group took control of Mosul. According to an NDTV report, Harjit Masih, who is from Gurdaspur, escaped and said he had witnessed the “massacre of the others”. The government, however, has rejected Masih’s claim.

Last month, over three years after the take over, ISIS was pushed out of Mosul by Iraqi forces. Union minister of state for external affairs V.K. Singh went to Iraq at that time and Swaraj told family members of the missing that an Iraqi official who was quoting intelligence services had told Singh that those missing were in a jail in Badush, reported NDTV.