An Indian national who escaped from a prison where terrorists of the Islamic State were holding hostages has claimed that the rest 39 of his countrymen have been killed.
Harjit Masih, 25, told the media in Mohali town adjoining Chandigarh and claimed that the hostages were mostly from Punjab and are now dead.
"The ISIS came and kidnapped us and took us to another place. We were 40 Indians and about 50 Bangladeshis. They assured us that our passports would come and we will be allowed to leave for India," Masih said. "They (ISIS) handed us over to another group who took us to another place. Later, they put us in a room and started firing. Everyone around me fell. I kept lying there and later escaped," he said.
In New Delhi, Sushma Swaraj disputed Masih's claims and said her sources had not indicated that the Indian nationals were dead. "We are not sparing any efforts to find them. We are hopeful that we will be able to find them and bring them back home. I have eight different sources who are saying they are alive," Sushma Swaraj told the media after families of the hostages met her in New Delhi on Thursday.
The Indian nationals were taken hostage by the ISIS on June 11 last year in northern Iraq's Mosul town.