What Is Happening To Indians Stuck In War Torn Iraq, And Why We Should Be Worried

Posted on June 18, 2014 in GlobeScope

By Mayank Jain:

Iraq has turned into a war zone with resurgence of militants who have begun taking control over the cities. The civil war isn’t new to the country as it has seen violence for the last 10 years since the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down in Baghdad.

In the recent turn of events, the Shia-Sunni violence has again flared up as both the Muslim communities are up in arms against each other. Militants from the al-Qaeda’s outfit Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have taken over northern cities of Mosul and Tikrit last week and Tal Afar on Monday. There are as many as 10,000 fighters in the country and a picture posted by BBC on Facebook reveals the far reaching impact of another civil war which seems to be right on the horizon.

Indian government, on the other hand, has showed a fresh change from the usually delayed to a proactive approach in ensuring the safety of Indians trapped in the country. Over 10,000 Indians are estimated to be currently living in Iraq. The government’s steps go beyond just words but the situation is getting worse by the day as the Iraqi authorities find it tough to reclaim the cities already under siege and US is mulling action in consultation with Iran.

24 Hours Control Room

In a first of its kind move to inform the families of trapped Indians about their whereabouts and well-being, a 24 hour control room has been set up by the government. “In view of the prevailing security situation in Iraq and to provide information to all concerned, a 24-hour Control Room has been set up in the Ministry of External Affairs,” the Ministry of External Affairs said. Insurgent outfits have seized two cities. The control room is monitoring the situation closely and India is lending support through its embassy in Baghdad as well.

40 Indian Workers Abducted

The authorities accepted that they couldn’t reach the 40 Indian workers trapped in the city of Mosul. However, the Ministry of External Affairs has finally accepted that the workers have been abducted. “It is with deep, deep sadness we would like to inform you 40 workers of the Tariq Noor al-Huda construction company have been abducted” Akbaruddin, MEA spokesperson told a press gathering as per a Hindustan Times report.

Protecting the 46 Nurses

The Indian government said on Thursday that it is in touch with the Indian nurses stranded in violence hit town called Tikrit. The government has offered every assistance to the Iraq government. According to Times of India’s report, “Following a request by the Indian government, a team of International Red Crescent contacted around 46 nurses in Tikrit and reported back to the Indian authorities about their well-being, sources said.”

Helplines launched

Telangana’s government has taken an active stance to provide information about the workers from the state who are stuck in the country. The helpline has been started under the NRI cell to render assistance. The numbers opened are 040-23220603 and 09440854433.

The district collectors and other departments have also been notified to dig up details of the workers and their addresses so that the government can push for assistance on the issue with the Ministry of External Affairs.

Moreover, the Indian Embassy in Baghdad has already set up a 24 hour helpline to assist Indians trapped there. The travel warnings have been issued by the government already and the government has also urged the Indians trapped there to consider leaving the country in view of the “precarious” security situation. Meanwhile, the government is sending former envoy to Iraq Suresh Reddy to Bhagdad to strengthen the Indian Mission there.

India has also reportedly reached out to international organizations including UN and Red Crescent International to assist with the evacuation program.