Sushma, Oppn spar in RS over missing Indians

Sushma, Oppn spar in RS over missing Indians

Sushma, Oppn spar in RS over missing Indians
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Opposition sparred in Rajya Sabha on Thursday sparred over the fate of Indians abducted by Islamic State in Iraq.

As Congress MPs Ambika Soni and Pratap Singh Bajwa accused Swaraj of misleading Parliament, she said the opposition was carrying out a political agenda on the issue though she cannot declare them dead without any evidence.

To persistent questions on who is the source of information that they are safe, Swaraj said a Head of the State and Foreign Minister of another country have provided the information. But she refused to divulge their names citing diplomatic confidentiality.

Pointing to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said he knows that such negotiations are held in secrecy and it is not proper to reveal details.

She also said she has not misled Parliament or the country on the issue and that she has no proof of the abducted Indians being alive or dead.

"In the absence of solid proof, it is a sin on a personal level and irresponsible act on the part of the government to declare them dead," she said.

"I have said in Parliament and outside that, I have no evidence of their being alive or dead," Swaraj said.

"We are not sitting idle. All countries which can help have been asked for help. Why will I mislead? What will I gain? What will I gain, what will my government gain by misleading?" she said.

Bajwa countered Swaraj's assertion, asking what would Harjit Masih, one of the abducted Indians who had escaped, saying she was first to speak to Masih but did not provide convincing reply how he was able to escape from the ISIS captivity.
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