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Gurpinder Kaur Cheem: Voice of 39 Families who Lost Family Members to Iraq

“We couldn’t even say goodbye to him", says Majinder's mother, who has been missing in Iraq for two years

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Gurpinder Kaur Cheem. Image Source: Indian Express
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  • Gurpinder Kaur Cheem has been desperately trying to get the Government’s attention through various means
  • She demands answers about her brother, and relatives of 39 other families who went to Iraq for work, but never returned
  • Majinder had traveled abroad in search for work to help in the family’s finances

Gurpinder Kaur Cheem, a 30 year-old teacher has taken to Twitter to try and get the Prime Minister’s attention.

  • “Today’s June 15. 2 years completed but 39 Indians missing in Iraq did not came back to their homes. When they will come back, Sushma.”
  • “Families of those Indians losing hope. Will they come back or not. What happens. Lots of questions but no ans. Who will give ans.”

The above mentioned tweets are examples of Gurpinder’s efforts to contact the government in order to get some clarity on the location of her brother Manjinder Singh, as well as the kin of the 39 families.

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“My request to the Prime Minister is that he should meet us at least once, listen to us,” she told The Indian Express, talking about her efforts to meet him, although in vain. “Some time ago, I managed to get the number for a senior official in the PMO,” she says, “and I called him. It was my luck that he picked up. I told him that I want to meet Modiji about my brother and the other boys, but he said that I should contact the MEA. After that I have sent many messages over SMS but there has been no response.”

Gurpinder said she had no clue about the Prime Minister’s trip to Qatar, where he spoke about Indian workers living in the country. The mother of a ten year old boy said she would have requested him to bring up the issue of her brother, since Qatar has some links with Iraq.

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Ramadi, a city in central Iraq, declared as ISIS capital. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

It is suspected that the missing people have been abducted by the Islamic State in 2014, an idea that Gurpinder refuses to entertain.

Along with the other families, she had a meeting with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj last year, but no other information about this has been provided to the families since then, said the express report.

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Her brother Manjinder had decided to go abroad for a few years to earn money so that he could help his family. Their father had to sell their land in Amritsar to finance their mother’s cancer treatment, so they moved to work on a rich relative’s farm. Manjinder got an opportunity to work in Dubai after failing his English test, which is a basic requirement for labor in the West.

According to Indian Express, the family had paid Rs. 2 lakh to Harjit Masih, an agent, to help Manjinder travel abroad for work. However, they withdrew their request and asked for the money back. They did not wish for Manjinder to work in a different country any longer. It was too late – Manjinder called up the family saying he was on his way to Dubai to work for some time – little did he know he would end up in Iraq.

Harjit Masih, in disappointing news, said that there was a fallout and the ISIS shot all the others. He himself escaped from the place safely. Masih is now in jail for human trafficking charges, but Gurpinder is not satisfied. She insists on knowing whether Masih was telling the truth about her brother’s murder by the ISIS. She has not given up hope yet, and she will not let the Government give up on her brother either.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It is very disheartening to know this. All they can do is try to talk to people who have been in Iraq or have family members there or hope for the betterment and safe conditions of their relatives.

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Big reforms made India fastest growing major economies globally: Garg

It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries

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The RBI building in Mumbai. Photo credit: AFP/Sajjad Hussain

The major reforms undertaken by the Indian government for raising economic growth and maintaining macroeconomic stability have made the country one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, said Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (DEA).

Garg was addressing the Special Event hosted by US-India Strategic Partnership Forum on ‘Indian Economy: Prospect and Challenges’ in Washington D.C on Friday.

Indian economy needs big reform.

He said the launch of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) represented an “historic economic and political achievement, unprecedented in Indian tax and economic reforms, which has rekindled optimism on structural reforms.” He further emphasized that India carried-out such major reforms when the global economy was slow.

“With the cyclical recovery in global growth amid supportive monetary conditions and the transient impact of the major structural reforms over, India will continue to perform robustly,” Garg said.

During his meetings, Garg highlighted that the digital age technologies have profound implications for policies concerning every aspects of the economy. It also has enormous implications for emerging markets and developing countries.

Also Read: Biggest Bank Frauds Which Shook The Indian Economy

He expressed that the response to such a transformation will have to shift from ‘catch up’ growth to adoption/adaption of digital technologies for development and growth.

Garg also informed that India has started adopting policies and programmes for transforming systems of delivery of services using digital technologies and connecting every Indian with digital technologies and access through Aadhaar and other such means.

Indian economy should be on rise. www.mapsofindia.com

While citing the example of expanding mobile data access, he mentioned that India is now the largest consumer of mobile data in the world with 11 gigabytes mobile data consumption per month. He informed that India is investing in digital technologies, encouraging private sector to adapt these technologies and also addressing the taxation related issues by introducing equalisation levy.

Garg is currently on an official tour to Washington D.C. to attend the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and other associated meetings. He is accompanied by Urjit Patel, Governor, Reserve Bank of India and other senior officials. IANS