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Over a 1,000 Indians want to come back from Iraq : MEA

Indian Media, TV Channels Cautioned Against Endangering Lives Of Stranded Indians with their real time coverage

By TN Ashok / Diplomatic Editor

New Delhi, July 01: Over a 1,000 Indians stranded in strife torn Iraq want to head home while an equal number want to stay back on their jobs even as the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated the return of some 233 Indian nationals by booking them on flights to New Delhi.

Most of the 233 people flying back to India hail from Northern India. There are some from Hyderabad, and limited numbers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu and they are in single digits, a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, Syed Akbaruddin, told newsmen today.

Most of the Indians stranded in Iraq in the conflict and non-conflict zones are unharmed and safe, the spokesman said adding “The Indian embassy is facing an extremely difficult situation in contacting them and despite these difficulties, we are confident we will extricate them and bring them back home”.

The MEA spokesman said the humanitarian agencies including the Red Crescent which was coordinating safety and rescue efforts of the Indian embassy in Iraq wanted the Indian media particularly TV channels to exercise extreme caution in their reportage of events in Iraq as they did not want the lives of Indians stranded there endangered or jeopardized.

“Some TV channels have been contacting the stranded nurses in Tikrit almost on an hour to hour basis and putting out reports on real time basis and this according to the humanitarian agencies in Iraq could undermine their efforts in search and rescue and endanger their lives”, he said.

He also pointed out that some TV channels were contacting the heads of humanitarian agencies in Iraq such as the Red Crescent and putting out reports which could undermine the ongoing rescue efforts.

Answering questions on other subjects, the MEA spokesman said 170 fishermen in captivity in Sri Lanka were being released in various groups. The Indian government is in touch with the Sri Lankan government on this issue and is trying to arrive at a long term solution to the problem.

On another question that the National Security Agency of the United States was snooping on BJP leaders, the spokesman said if this is true, then this is extremely disconcerting news that privacy laws were being undermined. This is totally unacceptable that privacy of Indian individuals and organisations were being transgressed.

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