New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Monday said nearly 5,000 Indians have been brought back from Iraq since it was embroiled in conflict, and urged parliamentarians not to believe rumours floating about those trapped in the West Asian nation.
Giving clarifications after a calling attention motion in Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj also urged the members to convince everyone they know in Iraq or Libya to return to India.
Giving the details of Indians trapped in the conflict torn regions of Iraq, she said 15,000 of 22,000 Indians in Iraq are in safe zones.
She also said the 41 Indians kidnapped by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) are fine.
"There are several rumours floating around, I would urge the members not to believe them. The kidnapped Indians are safe," the minister said after one of the members quoted some reports of the Indians being dead.
"I am awaiting them as a mother awaits the return of her children. We have knocked every door, and leaving no stone unturned," she said.
Sushma Swaraj said all efforts are being made to rescue each and every Indian.
A written statement from the minister said till Aug 2, 4,900 Indians were brought back.
"The numbers keep changing," she said, adding that by now nearly 5,000 have been rescued.
The minister asked the MPs to convince Indians in Iraq and Libya to return home as many are unwilling.
"There are many people who don`t want to come back. We are asking all those in Baghdad to return. Similarly in Libya, the situation is such we can rescue people now," she said.
"We are persuading them to come back, if they don`t agree, we will take a written undertaking that they don`t want to come," said Sushma Swaraj.
She said the government officials have gone out of their way, convincing people to come back to India.
"Camps were set up. Officials went to the companies where Indians were working to persuade people to return".
The minister also refuted reports that a wealthy businessman from Kerala had helped in rescuing the nurses from Iraq.
The clarifications on the calling attention motion were allowed by the chair against the rules as the house was adjourned soon after the minister tabled her statement in the house.
As per the rules of a calling attention motion, if the debate is not taken up immediately after the statement, it cannot be taken up. Any topic of discussion can also not be repeated in a session.
Bending the rules, Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien however allowed the members to seek clarifications on the minister`s statement by but observed it "should not be followed as a precedent".