17 more Indians evacuated from Iraq’s conflict zone, claims Centre
NEW DELHI: The
Centre said on Tuesday that it has evacuated 17 Indian nationals from Iraq.
“With the help of Iraqi authorities, we have been able to evacuate 17 more
Indian nationals from the conflict zone. They are now in Baghdad and will come
back very soon,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.
spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the 39 Indians abducted and in captivity in
Mosul had “not been hurt or harmed”. The 46 Indian nurses in Tikrit were also
safe, he added. Meanwhile, the Kerala government said it is ready to pay for
the return of its nurses stranded in Iraq.
“The Centre should
meet the expenses of their return journey and if it does not happen, then the
state government is ready to bear it,” state Minister for Diaspora KC Joseph
told the Assembly. He was replying to a submission that sought the safe return
of five nurses from Habeba in Iraq.
Joseph also told
the Assembly the state government is in touch with the Centre on the issue. He
said there are reports from some place in Iraq that some of the nurses have salary
dues. The Central government on Monday said a total of 120 Indians were
stranded in the conflict zone in Iraq where Sunni insurgents have made rapid
advances against the Iraqi authorities.
Ever since the
troubles in Iraq intensified, Kerala nurses, especially from places like
Karbala region, Baghdad Medical City and Tikrit, were in touch with media
persons in Kerala. However, after some TV news channel went overboard with the
reporting, these nurses were asked by the Indian embassy officials not to speak
to media, a Kerala government official told IANS.
At Tikrit, where
reports of trouble were first emanated and the situation is still unfavourable,
46 Kerala nurses are waiting either to return to India or be transferred to a