Socialist Party (India)
11 Rajpur Road, Delhi – 110054
Phone/Fax : 110-23972745
41/557 Lohia Mazdur Bhawan, Dr. Tufail Ahmad Marg, Narahi, Lucknow – 226001
25 March 2018
Killing of Indian workers in Iraq : Workers should protest against the government apathy
Harjit Masih, the lone survivor among the 40 abducted Indian workers , in his interview published in ‘The Hindu’ (24 March 2018) has given detailed description about the tragic incident. He stated in a clear cut manner that the Indian government officials took him into their custody on his return and told him not to reveal the truth about the killing of his 39 fellow workers. The officials made him believe that the truth revealed by him could put him and his family at risk as relatives of those ”dead” could get enraged. He told the government officials that the workers were kidnapped by Islamic State fighters from the factory at Mosul in Iraq in June 2014 and killed in a lonely place after two days of the kidnapping. The detailed revelation of the incident by Harjit Masih proves that the government had kept misleading not only the Parliament but the families of the deceased for four years.
The Socialist Party condemns this untruthful and inhuman act on the part of the government. In fact, the External Affair Minister, Sushma Swaraj, who kept misleading the relatives about the safety of the abducted workers, made the announcement in the Parliament only under pressure and compulsion. The reason is that the Iraqi officials had planned a press conference on this matter on the same day i.e. Tuesday, 20 March 2018. This episode has also exposed the hollowness of government’s claims about the strong foreign relations in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Socialist Party believes that the government could dare to exhibit such insensitive behaviour because the victims were ordinary labourers from poor families. The ruling establishment, guided by the market values, has lost its human ground. The government might have assumed that it can barter the shock, anger, sense of betrayal and tears of the poor by offering them some amount of money which it has looted from these very hard working masses.
The relatives of the workers killed in Iraq got the news from TV channels, and not directly from the government. This means that the government does not even consider the poor to deserve that they should be informed of the death of their loved ones. Sardara Singh, father of 36-year-old Gurcharan Singh, expressed his anguish that every time they met Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, she used to swear by ‘kali maa’ and assured ‘children are safe’. He questioned the External Affairs Minister, ‘where is that promise now?’ That is, the government assumes that it is not necessary to speak the truth to the poor. Therefore, it is not surprising that the government has not understood the need to apologise to the families of the dead.
The Socialist Party demands that the government should immediately tender an apology to the relatives of the victims, if it has any regard for humanity and civility. At the same time, the Socialist Party invites the Indian workers in the country and abroad to strongly oppose the corporate-friendly government in order to protect their interests. The fact should be kept in mind that the Indian workers who work in the Middle East bring huge amounts of foreign money to India. Their contribution is no less than the non-resident Indians in any sense.
Dr. Prem Singh