New Delhi: Thirty nine out of forty Indian workers who went missing in Iraq this June have reportedly been killed by the Islamic State militants, claim two Bangladeshi workers whom ABP News spoke exclusively in Kurdistan’s capital Erbil.
ABP News Exclusive l Story of the 40 Indians abducted by ISIS, as told by two witnesses
The two Bangladeshi nationals working for a construction company in Iraq mentioned about one Indian worker Harjeet Masih who miraculously escaped from the cluthhes of the militants. Harjeet informed Shafi and Hasan that he witnessed the killings of all his Indian co-workers.
ABP News Correspondent Jagwinder Patial who had visited Erbil last week along with spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar met these two Bangladeshi workers Shafi Islam and Hasan who gave chilling details about the ordeal they & Indians suffered under the hands of the ISIS.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was unsuccessful in getting a peace process initiated with ISIS chief bu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Erbil is the place which hasn’t fallen under the hands of the ISIS and is a city where thousands of people from different locations escape into as it is considered to be safe.
Shafi says they were travelling to Mosul from Baghdad and on the way were kidnapped by ISIS militants on June 11.
The entire workers comprised of 51 Bangladeshis and 40 Indian workers which included mostly citizens from Punjab and some from Kolkata. The Indians comprised of 2 old aged men while the rest were relatively young.
The masked militants holding pistols & Qurans in their hands segregated the workers from both the nationalities in two groups. After scrutinizing the Bangladeshis and knowing about their religious faith, militants told them that they would be taken to Erbil soon. While the Indians were kept in a different room who sensed they too would be released.
Their mobiles and passports were all confiscated by the militants. All of them were given just one roti at 10 am during the entire day.
However, Harjeet told Shafi that on June 15, they had taken all the 40 Indians along with him to a hilly terrain where all of them were shot. Harjeet too suffered two bullet injuries but acted as if he was dead. To confirm even Harjeet was dead, he was kicked by them but since they didn’t observe any movement in his body made them conclude that he had perished too.
The terrifying narration by Shafi & Hasan made us constantly ask them that despite being shot at how did Harjeet manage to escape? Hasan said the bullets must have just brushed him and not penetrated deep inside.
Shafi said that the location where Indians were shot dead and where the Bangladeshi workers were confined to was only 6 kms. Harjeet reached at that location named Al Jamia by ISIS gunmen who did not suspect of what he has gone through.
He told ISIS brigade dropped him there as he lied to them that he was a Bangladeshi named Ali. Very successfully he dodged the militants by faking his identity.
“Harjeet was a dark man, 5.5 feet tall & had little beard. He used to speak to the militants in English, he knew little Arabic,” Shaif described the Indian’s appearance.
“He was petrified & crying. We made sure then that his identity would not be revealed & was taken to a different building so that no one doubts him. Harjeet was made to read namaz with us,” Shafi claimed.
“On the way to Erbil, we were checked by Iraqi military. We had informed our embassy. Harjeet was with us. The army took our photos and were taken to Erbil in our office vehicle,” says Hasan.
However, Harjeet is still untraceable but is in touch with his mother. Shafi says, “he spoke to India embassy and informed about the killings. He is likely to be in Erbil.”
"Harjeet told me not to tell anyone about his conversation with me," Shinder Masih, Harjeet's mother to ABP News.
ABP News spoke to his brother Robin Masih in Kala Afghana village in Punjab's Gurdaspur district who said the last time he had a conversation with him on phone was in August.
Shafi had recognized a lot of pictures of Indians we had carried. He could identify Nand Lal, Harish and Tiwari.
External Affairs Ministry officials have told ABP News that they will verify claims of the Bangladeshi workers.