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Crisis Management Group discusses hostage issue
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 30, 2004 00:34 IST
The Crisis Management Group under the chairmanship of Foreign Secretary-designate Shyam Saran is holding an emergency meeting in the South Block to discuss the latest developments in the Iraq hostage crisis.
Three Indians -- Antaryami, Tilak Raj and Sukhdev Singh -- are among six people abducted by a little known Iraqi militant group 'Black Flags'.
The group has threatened to kill one hostage tomorrow if their demands -- an apology from India for calling them 'ransom seekers' and withdrawal of Kuwaiti transport company KGL from Iraq -- were not met.
Those taking part in the meeting are top ranking officers of the Ministry of External Affairs, particularly those dealing with the Gulf countries.
The government was forced to form a Crisis Management Group after militants holding two Pakistanis killed them on Thursday.
Family members of the three Indians have been appealing to the government and KGL to concede to the demands of the abductors.
"We can now only pray," Ram Murthi told rediff.com on phone from Una in Himachal Pradesh. Murthi and some villagers from Upper Dehlan in Himachal Pradesh had met President of India Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh and appealed to them to do everything possible to bring home the men.
"It would have been better if relatives of the three truck drivers had been sent to Kuwait to talk to the employers and put pressure on them to concede to the demands of the terrorists," said a relative of Antaryami.
Relatives of Sukhdev Singh, resident of Ropar district of Punjab, are angry with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for 'not taking interest' in saving the life of Sukhdev.
"If someone powerful had been held captive Captain Amarinder Singh would have been running from pillar to post to secure his release. He has not issued a statment nor has any of his officials visited our place," said Kartar Singh.