Families of migrant workers, who are working in Iraq, are a worried lot following an unabated battle between the security forces and militant groups in the last few days.

With news of suffering of the migrants in strife-torn Iraq creating tension, families of those working in Iraq are waiting with bated breath for some information about the safety of their dear ones.

It was the same scene in many villages of Karimnagar, Adilabad, Medak and Nizamabad where family members were seen wailing and trying to know about the well being of their family members who went to Iraq, many of them illegally.

A report from Adilabad said though about 200 people from different mandals of Nirmal revenue division are said to be in Iraq; there is no definite word on the issue and authorities continue to grope in the dark. While authorities have information on some five workers from Neelaipet in Nirmal mandal to be safe in Iraq at present, independent reports say a worker Pedda Reddy from Parpelly in Laxmanchanda mandal and Kodicherla Devanna from Lokeswaram are trapped.

Special branch officials contacted Nalla Laxmi of Neelaipet, whose husband Surender is working in an undisclosed place in Iraq on Wednesday only to be told that the latter had called her the previous night and asked her not to disclose any details about him.

Another three from the district, just identified as Rajesh, Mahesh and Rajender, are also said to be held up inside Iraq, according to Migrants Rights and Welfare Forum president K. Narsimham Naidu of Nizamabad district.

“There are at least 15,000 people from Nirmal division working in Gulf countries mainly in cities in Saudi Arabia and in Dubai. Most of those who found no work in these countries have gone to Iraq which had good potential for immigrant workers,” Mr. Naidu says. President of Gulf Returning Welfare Members’ Society Chand Pasha said many people go to Iraq as the salaries are decent.

However, a Nizamabad report quoting Sai Charan of Perkit in Armoor mandal, who spoke to The Hindu from Ergil in Kurdistan of Iraq, said migrants were safe and they had no intention of coming back to India in the near future. Most of them are working in hotels and oil companies. “As far as my knowledge goes, we are 200 to 250 people from Armoor and Kamareddy areas,” he said. Medak district administration opened a helpline 08455- 272525 in the Collectorate to help the families of the workers. In-charge Collector A. Sarath has informed that they have instructed staff at the ground level to collect information if any one was trapped at Iraq. About 5,000 people might have migrated to Gulf countries including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Sharjah, Kuwait and Bahrain from Dubbak, Siddipet, Ramayampet, Zaheerabad and other areas from the district but it was not sure whether any one directly went to Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded that Telangana government set up a separate cell to help the migrants in Iraq. Telangana PCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah, at a press conference here on Wednesday, said directions had been given to the district, mandal and constituency Congress committees to list out the names and furnish to the party headquarters so that the same was conveyed to the Government for help.

(With inputs from S. Harpal Singh (Adilabad), K.M. Dayashanker (Karimnagar), P. Ram Mohan (Nizamabad) and R. Avadhani (Sangareddy)

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