New Delhi: All the 39 Indians held hostage in Mosul town of Iraq by ISIS militants over a year ago were "safe", government said on Wednesday quoting multiple third party sources and asserted that efforts were on to secure their release.
Union minister of state for external affairs V K Singh said government was in "close and regular" contact with relevant Iraqi government authorities to obtain information on their whereabouts and safety.
"As per latest information from multiple third party sources, they are all safe. The government is making all efforts and taking all steps to secure their release," Singh said, replying to a question in Lok Sabha.
The minister said safety and security of the Indians remained a matter of foremost concern and preoccupation for the government.
Replying to a separate question, Singh said, "as per information received from Indian Embassy in Baghdad, 39 Indians are held under the captivity of Islamic state of Mosul."
He said a group of senior officials are stationed in Erbil in Kurdistan Autonomous Regions of Iraq to liason with government authorities and individuals to secure release of the Indians.
Singh said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had personally spoken to her counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as other friendly countries in the region to assist in locating the Indian nationals.
The Indian nationals were taken hostage by the ISIS on June 11 last year in northern Iraq's Mosul town.
Harjeet Masih (26), the lone Indian who escaped from the clutches of ISIS militants in Iraq, in May had claimed that all the 39 Indians had been "shot dead".