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Home > Cricket > Reuters > Report

'What if they come up with a new demand?'

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 30, 2004 13:28 IST
Last Updated: July 30, 2004 15:08 IST

The crisis management group set up to deal with the Iraq hostage crisis began yet another round of meeting in the office of Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahmed on Friday morning to evolve a strategy to bring an early end to the episode.

At present, it is wondering how to deal with the changing demands of the abductors. Three Indians -- Antaryami, Tilak Raj and Sukhdev Singh -- are among the seven hostages.

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First, the abductors demanded that the employer of the seven hostages, the Kuwait and Gulf Link Transport Company, cease operations in Iraq before July 23. On the day the deadline expired, they came up with a new deadline and a fresh set of demands.

The new demands compensation for the families of the Iraqis who died fighting American troops in Fallujah and the release of Iraqi prisoners in US and Kuwaiti jails before by Sunday.

The latest demand came on Wednesday. The abductors, a little known militant group called 'Black Flags', want an assurance from India in writing that the three Indian hostages are poor people who went to Kuwait in search of jobs and are not working for occupational forces. The abductors have reportedly insisted on the use of the words 'occupational forces' and not allied or American forces.

The CMG is now wondering whether an apology would serve the purpose. "What if they put up a new demand after getting an apology?" is the question.

The group would also discuss the concerns of the relatives of the three captive men. "We are using every single channel that is available to us to secure the release of the three Indians," a senior government official told

Senior officers of the ministry of external affairs, including foreign secretary-designate Shyam Saran and joint secretaries dealing with the Gulf countries, are attending CMG meetings. The group met for over four hours on Thursday night and decided to put out advertisements in major Arabic newspapers explaining the India government's stand on Iraq.

The terrorists had threatened to kill one Indian hostage if their demands were not met by Friday 8.30pm (Indian Standard Time).

The relatives of the hostages have appeal to the captors to release the men on humanitarian grounds and assured that they would never go to Iraq again. The appeals were made through Indian television channels.

Antaryami's father Ram Murthi has threatened to kill himself rather then receive the body of his son.

© Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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Number of User Comments: 12

Sub: Iraq crisis

I was wondering, is it the best practice to try negotiating terrorists who have never ending demands! Till now India has been quite nice to ...

Posted by I do not tell ...

Sub: If an apology saves life

I cannot understand the dilemna that the Indian government is showing to write a letter(I cannot comprehend the term apology letter because what the captors ...

Posted by Madhusudan banik

Sub: Will Apology be enough ?

Respected Parents, We share the concern and on behalf of INDIA, would urge Kidnappers to release our brothers on humanitarian ground. We have no other ...


Sub: Indian hostages in Iraq

The way the captors are behaving, it appears that they are not IRAQIS. If thay are real Iraqis they should have little concern for Iraqis ...

Posted by k.v.menon

Sub: Will apology be enough?

Why is India reluctant on taking a decision? What if a Diplomat or their son or daughter got kidnapped? Memories are still fresh about the ...

Posted by Murali



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