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Killing of Indian Labourers in Iraq : Workers Should Protest Against Govt Apathy

Family members grieve by a portrait of Harsimran Singh, one of the 39 Indian workers whose bodies were found buried northwest of Mosul, in Babowal village of Punjab. — PTI

The Socialist Party of India condemns the inhuman handling of the matter related to the killing of poor labourers in Iraq and hiding the truth even from the families of the victims. The party also exhorts the workers to protest against government’s apathy towards the incident.

Caravan News

HARJIT MASIH, the lone survivor among the 40 abducted Indian workers in Iraq, in his interview published in ‘The Hindu’ (24 March ) has given detailed description about the tragic incident. He stated in a clear cut manner that the Indian government officials took him into their custody on his return and told him not to reveal the truth about the killing of his 39 fellow workers. 

The officials made him believe that the truth revealed by him could put him and his family at risk as relatives of those ”dead” could get enraged.

He told the government officials that the workers were kidnapped by Islamic State fighters from the factory at Mosul in Iraq in June 2014 and killed in a lonely place after two days of the kidnapping.

The detailed revelation of the incident by Harjit Masih proves that the government had kept misleading not only the Parliament but the families of the deceased for four years, said Socialist Party of India in a press release.

The Socialist Party condemns this untruthful and inhuman act on the part  of the government. In fact, the External Affair Minister, Sushma Swaraj, who kept misleading the relatives about the safety of the abducted workers, made the announcement in the Parliament only under pressure and compulsion, says the press release. The reason is that the Iraqi officials had planned a press conference on this matter on the same day i.e. Tuesday, 20 March 2018.

This incident has also exposed the hollowness of government’s claims about the strong foreign relations under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said the SPI official.

The Socialist Party believes that the government could dare to exhibit  such insensitive behaviour because the victims were ordinary labourers from poor families. The government might have assumed that it can barter the shock, anger, sense of betrayal and tears of the poor by offering them some amount of money which it has looted from these very  hard working masses. 

The relatives of the workers killed in Iraq got the news from TV channels, and not directly from the government. This means that the government did not think it necessary that they should be informed of the death of their loved ones.

Sardara Singh, father of 36-year-old Gurcharan Singh, expressed his anguish and said that every time they met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, she used to swear by ‘kali maa’ and assured him ‘children are safe’.

He questioned the External Affairs Minister, ‘where is that assurance now?’ The government did not even thought it proper to apologize for the incident.

The Socialist Party demands that the government should immediately tender an apology to the relatives of the victims, if it has  any regard for humanity and  civility. At the same time, the Socialist Party invites the Indian workers in the country and abroad to strongly oppose the corporate-friendly government in order to protect their  interests.  

It should be kept in mind that the workers who work in the Middle East and other countries bring a huge amount of foreign money to India. Government should take care of their interests and safety as of any other corporate in the country.

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