The news of central government confirming the death of 39 Indians in Iraq has cast a spell of despair among family members who waited since 2014 to get a glimpse of their dear ones. The Indians were killed by dreaded terrorist group Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq. While the families of the victims have raised questions at the government for “keeping them in the dark” all these years, opposition parties have latched on to the issue to corner the government.
Minister of State, External Affairs V K Singh has stated that the government was “looking for proof of life” in a war-torn country and it was “always the easier choice” to have declared them dead. “We are sorry that we lost them. But we do not regret trying,” Singh Tweeted.
While questions have been raised over the government’s foreign policy and India’s ability to ensure safety for its citizen living abroad, one cannot deny that the present government has time to time achieve tremendous success in rescuing the needy ones from jaws of death.
Here’s a look at 5 successful missions:
1. Nurses rescued from Iraq
Date of operation- July, 2014.
Place- Tikrit in Iraq
ISIS had held captive 46 nurses but the central government managed to rescue them after hectic parleys. The task which was seemingly impossible was done through a set of intermediaries. It has been learnt that Swaraj reportedly made at least 18 phone calls to her counterparts and other key players in the region. She also made “personal requests” to them. It was a victory for India’s resounding diplomatic tactics. The event inspired Salman Khan’s blockbuster movie Tiger Zinda Hai, which was released December last.
2. Father Alexis Prem Kumar
Date of Operation- March, 2015.
Place- Sohadat, Afghanistan
The priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar was allegedly abducted on June 4, 2014, from Sohadat village. Kumar was working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) which is an educational charity. Kumar was Afghanistan Director of the foundation and lived in the country for over three years. National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval had brought the matter to the notice of then Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani in October, 2014. He was successfully rescued in March 2015.
3. Operation RaAhat
Date of Operation- April, 2015.
Operation RaAhat is perhaps one of the biggest achievements. Over 5,400 people including over 900 foreign nationals were rescued by the Indian Armed Forces after Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen in 2015. The operation was carried out under the guidance of former Army Chief General (retd) V K Singh. A group of 11 Indians was also evacuated by a Pakistan navy ship along with 148 Pakistanis.
4. Rescue of Judith D’Souza
Date of operation- July 2016.
Place: Kabul, Afghanistan
Judith D’Souza was an Indian worker and worked in war-torn Afghanistan. He was allegedly abducted by militants and was kept under captivity for one-and-a-half months. Her family had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in June that year seeking help. She returned home on July 24, 2016 and met PM Modi.
5. Father Tom Uzhunnalil
Date of Operation- September 2017.
Place: Aden, Yemen
Another Father on the list is Tom Uzhunnalil. Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted by ISIS in southern Yemeni city of Aden. He was rescued after 17 months of captivity on September 12, 2017. It has been learnt that the priest was reportedly freed following the intervention of Oman’s foreign ministry.