There was no proof of 39 Indian nationals, who were taken hostage in war-torn Iraq last June, being “dead or alive”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told their families when they met her here today.
However, she said the government, on the assumption that they were alive was making efforts to secure their release.
After her sixth meeting in the last nine months with the relatives of the 39 Indians, Swaraj said she has conveyed to these families, who are from Punjab, that the government has spoken to every country and individual who could help in securing their release.
“Every time we meet, we brief them about the efforts being made by the government. There is no proof, as I have said earlier also that, whether they are dead or alive. But in the efforts we are making, our sources tell us that they have not been killed.
“And with this belief we are continuing with our efforts to secure their release. Today also I briefed them about the efforts made by the government from the last time they met me and they go back satisfied,” Swaraj said.
The External Affairs Minister said government was trying its “level best” on the issue. “We are trying our level best, we have talked to every counry and every individual that could help us,” he said.