Bombing in Saddam home town in Tikrit; Indian nurses stuck

600 Indian nationals to be evacuated in the course of this week, says spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin

shreerupa

Shreerupa Mitra-Jha | July 1, 2014 | New Delhi




Forty-six Indian nurses are stuck in crossfire between Sunni militants and the Iraqi army in the conflict zone of Tikrit. Bombing and firing in the area began on Tuesday (July 1).

Informing that the Indian nationals were hiding in the building's basement, the ministry of external affairs (MEA), in its latest statement, described their situation as "extremely delicate". Official MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin stated that "despite the difficulties, we will extricate them." He requested the media to show restraint in contacting them.

Last month, Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), surged out of the Anbar province and seized Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, moving on to the oil refinery centre of Baiji. Thousands fled among reports of extreme atrocity. IS claims to be establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. The jihadists are continuing to entrench their positions in northern and western Iraq.

Meanwhile, the MEA on Tuesday said that it booked tickets for 233 Indian nationals earlier in the day. Most of the evacuees are from northern India , followed by Hyderabad, with the rest hailing from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Around 1,000 Indians have contacted officials to facilitate their return to India. Almost an equal number, however, want to stay back on their own accord. About 450 Indian workers contacted by the ministry refused to leave work.

Thirty-nine Indians are still in IS's captivity in Mosul; the ministry said they "remain unharmed”.

The MEA has taken a proactive approach for evacuation of at least 600 Indian nationals from Iraq in the course of this week and is in a facilitation phase, according to Akbaruddin.

By adopting a proactive stance, the diplomats are approaching the workers to convince them to leave their place of work and the country. By a facilitation role, the MEA aims to resolve the issues Indian nationals might be facing in leaving the country – paperwork, funding for tickets etc. All Indian workers are being sent through commercial airlines. Airports in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf and Karbala are still operational.

There are mobile teams of Indian officials in all these four places, the MEA said.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who is also the minister for overseas Indian affairs, had a meeting with all ambassadors from the Gulf countries to get an understanding of their assessment of the situation in Iraq and the kind of assistance that can be provided to the Indian nationals – both in the conflict zone and outside – from their respective countries. It was also decided that the part of the welfare fund in Indian missions in the Gulf would be used to help Indian nationals in conflict-ravaged Iraq.

India deployed a warship (used for anti-piracy operations) in the Persian Gulf last Saturday and has also kept jets on standby for rescue operations, reports said. “The national assets will be used, if need be,” Akbaruddin said.

Since there is no Nepalese embassy in Iraq, the Nepal government has requested the Indian government to facilitate the return of their nationals as well to which the Indian government has acquiesced.

Currently, the areas of southern Iraq are considered safe zones.

Comments

 

Other News

Stories you must read over the weekend

Joseph A Cannataci is the UN’s first and current special rapporteur for the right to privacy appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in July 2015. His appointment came with growing global concerns about threats to privacy in the digital age where governments and big corporations collect mass da

When Jaitley sparred with Chidambaram

This is what Arun Jaitley had to say:   We want to take action which may either want to have an assault on what is the shadow economy or the parallel economy itself. Let us take this example of what everybody has commented on Section 132. Section 132, in simple,

One country, one tax from July 1

 After an intense seven-hour-long debate in the Lok Sabha, the cabinet gave a nod to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill. A green signal has also been given to the four crucial supplementary bills; Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Bill, Integrated GST (IGST) Bill, Compensation GST (compensation

Indian team’s internet access to villages gets global recognition

 A successful effort to take high speed internet to over six lakh Indian villages by an IIT Bombay team failed to get support from the government. But, the same indigenous television white space technology developed by the team has now won Mozilla Corporation’s ‘equal rating innovation cha

DJB unveils Yamuna river project

Delhi Jal Board, in collaboration with University of Virginia on Thursday unveiled the Yamuna River Project with a symposium cum exhibition as a part of the overall effort to map out an expansive, multidisciplinary prescription to clean Yamuna. The discussion opened on the lines of eradicati

UJALA scheme: Over 22 crore LED bulbs distributed

  Over 22 crore LED bulbs have been distributed by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) under UJALA scheme, union minister Piyush Goyal informed the Lok Sabha.   The minister said that the National LED programme, called Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for

Video

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter