Indians abducted by IS in Iraq dead, confirms Sushma Swaraj

Alicia Guzman
March 21, 2018

The hopes of families of 39 missing Indians in Iraq have finally been dashed as Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Upper House of Parliament that the Indians missing in conflict-ridden Mosul area since June 2014 are dead. Instead, they got the news when Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj announced it in a Parliament speech on Tuesday. "One by one the men dropped dead", he is quoted as saying.

Last July, Swaraj had said, "It's easy for me to declare them dead". She said that the story of holding the 39 Indians for ransom was false.

Forty Indians - from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal - went missing in June 2014 after Mosul fell to the Islamic State.

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

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According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), a deep penetration radar was used to establish the presence of bodies below a mound in Badush. "Verification of one victim is under process", she said, adding that the bodies were not found in a mass grave in Mosul, but from Badush - a village in northwest of Mosul.

Kaur demanded the DNA reports and said, "We had been running from pillar to post since four years and now we're being told via TV that we lost one of our own".

The physical remains of the Indians will be repatriated by the government in a special aircraft, the minister told parliament.

India was probably the first country which had managed to bring back all the bodies of its citizens from war-torn Iraq, she said. The caterer said they (the IS men) gave these responsibilities to him.

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Several relatives of slain workers have been complaining that they were not officially informed about their loved ones by any government authority. They told families of the deceased people that they were alive for four years.

Swaraj said, "I have two (pieces of) information".

"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. He said they had all been held for a number of days, then taken outside and ordered to kneel. "That was disappointing behaviour", Shashi Tharoor, a leader of the opposition Congress party, said in a tweet.

"If the government didn't have any details, why did they keep telling everyone they are alive?"

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CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also wanted the Modi government to clarify why it kept giving the families of the abductees false hope of being alive for the past three years.

Other reports by Info About Network

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