Forty Indian nationals remain “uncontactable” in a strife-torn Iraqi town, the Indian government has announced.
An Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman said the workers are based in Mosul, the northern Iraqi town that was taken over by jihadist ISIS militants earlier this week.
Several reports in India have suggested that the Indians have been kidnapped by the militants although the spokesperson has refused to confirm the reports.
Since ISIS captured Mosul – Iraq’s second-largest city – the militants have tried to win over residents and has stopped short of widely enforcing its strict brand of Islamic law, residents say.
Churches remain unharmed and street cleaners are back at work, says an Associated Press report.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said there were no reports of any Indian being targeted or involved in any violent incident in Iraq.
“The violence there is not targeted at Indian nationals. We are just caught in the cross-fire. At this stage we have no reports, no confirmation of any Indian national being involved in any violent accident,” the spokesperson said.
In response to a request by the Indian embassy, the International Red Crescent had contacted 46 Indian nurses in Tikrit – another town under militant control – and provided them assistance, he said.
The spokesperson said former Indian envoy Suresh Reddy is being sent to Baghdad to strengthen the Indian Mission there which is trying to help the Indians in violence-affected areas.