India confirms deaths of 39 missing citizens in Iraq

Lawrence Kim
March 21, 2018

Defending herself against a barrage of criticism, the minister said she had kept her word that she would declare them dead if she gets conclusive proof.

On Tuesday, India's foreign minister confirmed the mass grave contains the bodies of 39 Indian construction workers abducted shortly after the area fell to the extremists. A total of 40 Indians were kidnapped by ISIS in June 2014, out of which one, Harjit Masih, is believed to have escaped posing as a Muslim through Bangladesh. "The case was registered against me by the families of the 39 deceased". "I had been saying that all 39 Indians had been killed (by Daesh)". She did not take any names.

Of the 39 dead Indians, 27 were from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, five from Bihar and two from West Bengal.

She said nobody informed her about whether he was dead or alive, and on Tuesday she was told her brother was killed by ISIS. I was not involved in any falsehood. "I will get my closure when the families receive the bodies", the minister added. Commending Singh for his efforts, she said he had to sleep on floor of a small house during the search operations. He said the government remains fully committed towards the safety of Indians living overseas. "I was in a group of 42 people and staying in a camp near Erbil city, 85 km from Mosul where 39 Indian nationals were killed by the ISIS".

Abandoned Iraqi military material litters the road near Mosul on June 11, 2014, after Iraqi soldiers abandoned their posts in the face of the ISIS assault that captured the city.

The opposition leaders, sources said, blamed the government for using a "friendly party" to disrupt the proceedings to avoid discussion on the multi-thousand-crore-rupee banking fraud.

"In Rajya Sabha everyone listened to me patiently". But the developments in Lok Sabha saddened me further.

"The Congress indulged in very cheap level of politics and crossed the limit".

"Tajinder spoke to us once on the phone after he was kidnapped", said Tevinder Singh, whose nephew Tajinder Singh was among those killed.

Harjit Masih, the only Indian survivor, has long said that the rest of the group had been killed. "The plane carrying mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata", reads the statemnet of Sushma Swaraj published in an English daily. She said DNA tests matched the workers with bodies recently found in a mass grave.

The first person whose death was confirmed through DNA matching was a person called Sandeep.

Stating that the Martyrs Foundation does not confirm any person's death till 100 per cent identification has been done through DNA samples, she said that it was on Monday that reports came of 100 per cent identification of 38 of the bodies.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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