Govt misleading country over missing youth in Iraq: Congress


Congress members in Rajya Sabha on Monday accused the government of misleading Parliament on the issue of 39 Indian youths going missing in Iraq two years ago, with an Akali Dal member also seeking an update on the matter.

Raising the issue of the missing Indians during the Zero Hour, Pratap Singh Bajwa (Cong) charged External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with having “misled Parliament and the nation” on the issue.

In June 2014, he said 40 people, mostly from Punjab, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh, were kidnapped by the ISIS.

Bajwa said one Harjeet, belonging to Gurdaspur district, had managed to escape and later gave a statement that all the Indians were killed before his eyes.

The Congress MP said Swaraj had then assured Akali Dal leaders that the government had information from six sources which confirmed that all these people were alive.

Asking the Prime Minister to send an all-party delegation to Iraq to know the ground reality, Bajwa said if the abducted youths were alive, they should be brought back or else their parents should be informed that they are no longer alive.

“We have been taking the nation and Parliament for a ride for two years,” he added.

Senior party MP Ambika Soni also said: “We want to know what has happened to those 39 people”.

Associating himself with the sentiments of the Congress MPs, Naresh Gujral, member of NDA partner Akali Dal, demanded that the External Affairs Minister make a statement on the issue.

Nominated member K T S Tulsi raised the issue of suicide by farmers in the country, while Ram Kumar Kashyap (INLD) demanded that MPs be allowed to use their constituency development fund for asset repair and maintenance.

Congress member P L Punia said the new adverstisment policy of DAVP was hurting small and medium newspapers and said the government did not consult the stakeholders while coming out with the new policy. He asked the government to review the policy in consultation with small and medium newspapers.