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India doing 'very best' to free Indians in Iraq

By The Assam Tribune

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS): India said today that it was doing its "very best" to ensure the release of the 40 Indians abducted in Iraq, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi closely monitoring the situation.

The government said it was making all possible efforts to free the 40 Indian construction workers kidnapped in Mosul, one of the cities run over by Sunni insurgents.

"I am personally mulling over all options. The government is making all kinds of efforts. We are not leaving any stone unturned," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters here.

"I am personally supervising this. I will be meeting some of (the kin of the abducted Indians)," she said.

"I want to assure the families that the government and I will try our very best... make every effort."

The 40 Indians working for a Turkish construction company mostly hail from Punjab.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal meanwhile said he discussed the issue with Sushma Swaraj Wednesday and would meet her again today.

"I will make all efforts to ensure that the workers safely return from Iraq," he said here.

Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said all the affected families in Punjab had been told to alert the authorities if they get any telephone call from the workers or any lead on their location.

"Our Prime Minister and the External Affairs Ministry are closely monitoring the situation," she told journalists.

The mother of one of the Indians, Gurdeep Singh, expressed dismay over the mass abduction. "We don't know where he is," the woman told television channels in Punjab. "He has not called for many days. I hope he is safe."

There is no official confirmation if the Sunni insurgents who have overrun many parts of Iraq have seized the Indians -- and, if yes, why.

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