Only one of the 40 Indians kidnapped in Iraq earlier this year is alive, according to a news channel. The channel is basing its story on two Bangladeshi workers, who claim to have spoken to the only surviving Indian, Harjeet.
Government sources meanwhile denied the claims, citing a lack of credibility behind the information.
The channel said that ISIS militants may have killed all but one of the 40 Indian workers whom they abducted in June, as claimed by the two Bangladeshis whom the channel spoke to in Kurdistan's capital Erbil, reports The Times of India.
The two Bangladeshi workers, Shafi and Hassan, said Harjeet had miraculously escaped from the clutches of the militants and claimed to have witnessed the killings of all his Indian co-workers. Shafi said that the kidnapping of the workers by Islamic State militants took place while they were on their way to Mosul from Baghdad. There were 40 Indians and 51 Bangladeshis in the group.
Shafi claims Harjeet told him that ISIS militants had taken all the 40 Indians to a hilly terrain where they were shot. Harjeet too suffered bullet injuries but pretended to be dead.
Harjeet has previously been interviewed by Indian agencies, who felt that there were discrepancies in his story.
A senior intelligence official denied being in possession of any information about a change in the status of the captives. "It is possible that they have been moved elsewhere. ISIS is a country now, and they could easily move the labourers to other locations," he said.
The government has been carefully observing the situation in Iraq and Syria, especially on the safety of Indians in the region. Two senior external affairs ministry officials - Sanjay Rana, deputy envoy in Maldives, and Abu Mathen George, second secretary in Cairoto Erbil - were sent to Erbil to strengthen the staff presence of the Indian camp in the Iraqi city.