It has been nearly 6 months since 40 Indians have been taken captive by the dreaded and barbaric ISIS in Iraq. While one managed to escape, there is a great deal of concern among the relatives of 39 others who continue to remain captive.
A recent claim that some of them have been killed has only added to the worries of the families although sources in the Ministry for External Affairs tell OneIndia that there is no confirmation and efforts are on to release them.
The source in the ministry also informed that the operation to get the 39 persons back has been a tough one. They are constantly being moved around and at times contact has been lost. We are confident of bringing them back, but a strategy is being worked out and the families could be rest assured that the government is making all efforts, the source further informed.
The confusion regarding the status of the captives began following an interview with two Bangladeshis Shafi and Hassan by a television channel. These two men who are in Erbil claimed to have met Harjeet who was the only one who managed to escape from the ISIS. He is said to have to informed that the rest may have been killed.
An officer of the Intelligence who has been working on this case says that there are contradictory views on the matter and what Harjeet has been claiming is not summing up. There is too much happening in Iraq and with the airstrikes by the Americans captives not just from India, but other countries are constantly being moved.
All efforts to get them back are on. The officer also says that captives are like trump cards for the ISIS and they will use them in their fight. We are on the job and it was only a few days back that we got confirmation that they are safe, the officer also claimed.
India's approach to the ISIS problem has been quite different. All the youth who have shown intent of joining the ISIS are counseled. There are no cases that have been booked against any of them and the fact also remains that the outfit is not banned in India.
The youth from Maharashtra who have shown intent of coming back too may get away without cases being booked against them. However the Intelligence Bureau says that they will be monitored as they do not want a spill over of the problem.
Currently there is no major threat of the ISIS in India although the outfit while declaring the Global Islamic Council has put India on the map too. India says that they need to be ready at all times and as the West leaves Afghanistan there is a chance of increased activity.
The Al-Qaeda which announced its sub-continent wing recently is a major stake holder in Afghanistan. Moreover the Indian Mujahideen, Tehrik-e-Taliban and ISIS under the banner of the Ansar-ul-Tawhid has already shown intent of recruiting from India in a bid to conquer Afghanistan.
Intelligence officials say that this is not a matter that is being taken lying down and increased efforts are being made to ensure that the situation does not blow out of control.