Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

India says 39 workers abducted in Iraq in 2015 found dead

India says 39 workers abducted in Iraq in 2015 found dead India says 39 workers abducted in Iraq in 2015 found dead
Lisa Bryan | 21 March, 2018, 08:12

Speaking in Parliament, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said that the 39 Indians have been confirmed dead after verification of their DNAs.

"Shattered at the heart-wrenching news ... that the 39 Indians missing in Iraq, most of whom were Punjabis, are dead", Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Twitter.

The family members of two men from West Bengal, who were killed by the terror group ISIS in Iraq, said on Tuesday that no one from either the central or the state government has informed them of the devastating news.

Iraqi authorities used radar to verify that the mound was a mass grave, she said, and then exhumed the bodies.

"We met the Union minister 11 to 12 times and were told that as per their sources, the missing Indians are alive. I will not do this sin", Swaraj had said in a statement in the Lok Sabha in 2017, said the media reports.


Asked why there was a delay in confirming the death of these Indians, she said the DNA samples were initially matched with the bodies found in mass graves in Iraq. They were taken hostage when the Islamic State took control of the second largest city in Iraq.

On Tuesday, she told the Rajya Sabha that DNA evidence was now available on 38 of them.

"Our government did not want to declare them "Missing and Believed to be Killed", Sushma said. "The government may tarnish his image now by saying he was an agent and had sought help from a Bangladeshi to flee but he was proved right", said Robin Nahar, cousin of Harjit Masih. The families of 39 missing Indians have moved against me in the court. "But we owe it to their families and to the nation to have looked for them", he said. "I was kept in custody for a year and was promised a job which has not been given yet". Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will be flying to Iraq to bring back the bodies on a special flight.

Hitting out at the government over the issue, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "Giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack of transparency on part of the government".

While speaking at the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj explained that the plane carrying the mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and Kolkata. "Can there be anything more shameful than this?" he tweeted.

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