Over 40 Indians, mostly from Punjab, were kidnapped by the insurgents June 11 in northern Iraq's Mosul town. Most Indian workers in Iraq are construction or skilled workers. Families of those stuck or missing in Iraq are a worried lot and have appealed to the respective state governments and the central government to secure the release of their kin. Tota Singh said that the state government was in constant touch with the central government to ensure safety of those stuck there and ensuring their safe return home from Iraq at the earliest.
"The Punjabis who contacted control room from Iraq informed us that they are safe but want to return to India. The central government should speed up the efforts for safe evacuation of Punjabis from Iraq," the minister said. He said till Friday evening, more than 200 families rang up the control room, giving the details about their relatives stuck in Iraq. Of these Indians in Iraq, the highest number 29 were from Jalandhar, 28 from Kapurthala, 23 from Amritsar and 22 from Gurdaspur districts. From neighbouring Haryana, 92 people, mostly young men, are stranded in strife-torn Iraq, a government spokesman said Friday. The Haryana government has given the list on the basis of information made available by their families. The highest numbers are from Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Ambala and Karnal districts. Haryana officials here said there is no information that any person from Haryana has been taken hostage by Sunni insurgents in Iraq.