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Who would you believe- the version of a man who claims to have returned alive from the captivity of ISIS or the Indian government which counters the former's claims?

The Indian who returned alive from the jaws of ISIS A tale of abduction and escape
news Wednesday, June 15, 2016 - 13:38

The plot of this story is as knotty as it gets. 

Who would you believe- the version of a man who claims to have returned alive from the captivity of ISIS or the Indian government which counters the former's claims? 

It all started around in June 2014, when 40 Indian construction workers were abducted by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. Only one of them returned to India, Harjit Masih from Punjab, over a month later. 

But when he returned to his home in Kala Afghana, a village in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, last year, his version of what happened to the other 39 men would horrify many. 

Now, two years after that fateful day when 40 people were abducted by ISIS, The Quint got in touch with Harjit Masih, his family and also the families of some of the men who still haven't returned home. 

According to Harjit, the other 39 men with him were shot dead by ISIS days after their abduction, and he somehow managed to flee from their claws.

Narrating the shocking ordeal in detail, Harjit told the web portal, "40 Indians were put into a cramped van. The door was locked from the outside. We rattled and pushed the door hoping it would open. We couldn't breathe. They stopped the car near a sand dune. Made us get down and stand in a line. We knelt down. I was in the centre. They were behind us, a little distance away. They made us kneel and shot us from behind.

When they began to shoot, the man next to me laid down, so I lay down on the ground as well. The bullets flew for about 2 minutes. I don't know when they left. I just lay there, didn't breathe, just lay there. I slowly raised my head and saw there was no one around."

He then saw the others lying in a pool of blood. And then he ran. Ran to save his life. And he told The Quint that he saw several more sites with decomposing bodies on his way.


He was brought to India after he managed to reach out to the Indian embassy in Iraq, but as it would later turn out, it was just the beginning of a serpentine turn of events. 

After he reached Delhi, his family claims he was held in detention for 11 months by the Indian government. The government denied the claim stating he was kept under protective custody and not detention fearing his life was under threat.

The Indian government has also maintained its stance that the 39 people are still alive even though the families claim they have been given no proof at all.

Watch this report to find out what some of the families of the 39 men feel about the contradictory stands taken by the government and Harjit, Harjit's family's view on why he was held for nearly a year by the government, his recent arrest in an immigrant racket and more.

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