Indians captured by ISIS are dead reveals External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj

Posted March 21, 2018

On the delay in confirmation of the deaths of 39 Indians, Sushma Swaraj said that the government was waiting for solid evidence about the deaths and informed how bodies were identified.

Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jafri, while visiting India in July past year said, The Iraq government does not have any confirmed information regarding the 39 Indians lost in Iraq.

Sushma said on Tuesday that she had repeatedly told the families that "I have no evidence of their being either dead or alive" - the equanimous position that governments and defence forces usually adopt to ensure that false hopes are not raised.

In a statement to the Rajya Sabha Tuesday, Swaraj said Masih posed as Ali from Bangladesh to escape with a group of Bangladeshi men, who were separated from the Indians.

MoS EAM, General VK Singh, will go to Iraq to bring back mortal remains of all the Indians.

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A group of 40 Indian workers, mostly from Punjab, were taken hostage by the ISIS when it overran Iraq's second largest city Mosul in 2014. Around 10,000 Indians lived and worked in Iraq at the time. "I refused to close the files (of the 39 Indians) till we had concrete proof in hand (about their death)", she said. After digging out the mortal remains of dead Indians, DNA test was conducted in Baghdad confirming that they were indeed the missing Indians.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed condolences on the death of 39 Indian nationals in Mosul, Iraq on Tuesday.

One of the workers, Harjit Masih, managed to escape the massacre, returning to India in 2015 and telling a news website that he and his colleagues were taken to Badush four days after their kidnapping and gunned down.

Swaraj added that on March 19, the ministry received the information that DNA samples of 38 people have matched, and the DNA of the 39th person has matched 70 per cent.

The bodies were recovered from a mound of earth near Badush, a village northwest of Mosul, and DNA tests had confirmed them to be those of the construction workers. "Since 2014 I had been pleading with the government to bring him back somehow and today they say that he is no more".

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Out of the deceased, 27 people were from Punjab, 6 from Bihar, 4 from Himachal Pradesh and 2 from West Bengal.

Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features like long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs.

Their whereabouts had remained uncertain until now and the families had hoped they would see them alive.

The bodies were later exhumed with help from Iraqi authorities and sent for DNA testing to Baghdad, the report said.

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