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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.

Next Story

India successfully test fires n-capable Agni-V ballistic missile

The missile was earlier tested successfully in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

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Nirbhay
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said the Nirbhay missile test was "successful".(Representative image) VOA
  • India successfully tests the Agni-V ballistic missile on Thursday
  • This was the fifth test that missile underwent
  • With this success, India is now in ranks with US, UK, China and Russia

India on Thursday successfully tests fired its indigenously developed intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile Agni-V — the most potent and with the longest range in the Agni series – that can reach targets as far as Beijing.

The test took place at the Abdul Kalam Island facility off the Odisha coast. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted about its success, congratulating its makers DRDO, the armed forces and the defence industry.

You may also like: Ballistic missile Agni-IV test fired as part of user trial

India has many high tech and powerful missiles to its name. Wikimedia Commons
India has many high tech and powerful missiles to its name. Wikimedia Commons

She said the successful test of the 5,000-km-range missile that can carry a one-tonne warhead, was “a major boost to the defence capabilities of our country”.

“The Made in India canistered missile, having three stages of propulsion, was successfully test fired,” she tweeted.

Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni-V is the most advanced version of the Agni series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme that started in the 1960s.

The missile was earlier tested successfully in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.

This was the fifth test of the missile and likely to be its first user trial, though there was no official word on it.

India is developing new technologies everyday to strengthen its defence.
India is developing new technologies every day to strengthen its defence.

Thursday’s test brings the missile closer to its induction in the tri-service Strategic Forces Command.

The missile has a much longer shelf life, with its container being made of special steel that absorbs the blast of the takeoff.

In the canisterised launch, a gas generator inside ejects the missile up to a height of about 30 metres. A motor is then ignited to fire the missile.

Also Read: Nikki Haley says North Korea Could Face Stronger Sanctions due to its 7th Missile test in 2017

With this missile, India joins the super-exclusive club of ICBM (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500 km) capable countries of the US, Russia, the UK, France and China. IANS