NEW DELHI: A day after External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj confirmed that thirty-nine Indians who were missing in Iraq's Mosul since 2014, have been killed by terrorist outfit Islamic State, the family members of the victims are demanding proofs of the identification of the victims.
"My brother went to Iraq in 2012 where he worked as a carpenter. We had been asking MEA for proof of him being alive or dead. We demand that reports of the DNA test be given to us," said Malkit Ram, brother of a Saganandlal who was among the 39 Indians killed in Mosul.
The family of 46-year-old Gobinder Singh is also demanding his DNA reports. "The government should share the DNA reports with us and also get the DNA test conducted once again in India so that we can be sure that the body handed over to us is that of my brother," he said.
Several relatives of slain workers have been complaining that they were not officially informed about their loved ones by any government authority. "What do we say now? The government kept us in the dark all these years. Now after four years, they are making such a shocking statement," asked a dejected Sarwan whose 31-year-old brother Nishan was among those killed.
"We met the Union minister 11 to 12 times and were told that as per their sources, the missing Indians are alive. They have been saying that Harjit Masih, the lone survivor, is a liar. If your sources have been saying they were alive and now suddenly what happened. The government should have told us they have no information about missing Indians rather than making false statements," said Sarwan adding that it is the government's biggest failure.
"Initially, they were saying the Indians are alive. Now the minister today made such a statement," said Gurpinder Kaur, whose 27-year-old younger brother Manjinder Singh was among the missing Indians. "We were not even told about it; we came to know from the TV," she added.
Swaraj on Tuesday told Parliament that all 39 Indians, abducted by the ISIS in Iraq nearly three years back, were killed and their bodies were recovered. As many as 40 Indians were abducted by ISIS in June 2015 from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj said in Rajya Sabha. The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed.
She revealed that the government had over the course of the crisis received information from different heads of states on three separate occasions that said the 39 Indians had not been killed.
She also added that search operations led to a mound in Badoosh where locals said some bodies were buried and deep penetration radars were used to establish that the mound was a mass grave. Indian authorities requested their Iraqi counterparts to exhume the bodies which will now be brought back to India. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will be flying to Iraq to bring back the bodies on a special flight.
Swaraj had said there is no reason for any of the bodies to be brought to New Delhi. She said the bodies would be taken straight to whichever part of the country they were from.