Families of men killed in Iraq threaten to protest if demands not met

Several family members of the 39 killed in Mosul by Islamic State have said that they have not been contacted by the Indian government.

Families of men killed in Iraq threaten to protest if demands not met
File photo

New Delhi: Maintaining that the government is yet to contact them and that their demand for compensation has so far gone unheard, families of the 39 Indian men killed in Iraq have said they will sit on a silent protest at Jantar Mantar on Saturday if they are not contacted.

The families of the men killed say that they have not been contacted by any government official, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Many have also refused to accept the mortal remains of their kin unless the government provides adequate compensation and government jobs. "Union government has not contacted us yet. Sushma Swaraj has not replied to us even after repeated attempts to contact and meet her," Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh who was among the 39 killed, told news agency ANI. "We won't do a violent protest, we'll just sit peacefully."

Vijay Kumar, who also lost a family member, said that the government has already been told it has time till Saturday to respond. "We've given government time till tomorrow (Saturday) morning to announce a compensation to secure future of families of deceased. If they aren't able to do it then we'll protest at Jantar Mantar," he said.

Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday had confirmed that 39 Indians who were missing in Iraq's Mosul since 2014 had been killed by terrorist outfit Islamic State. While the news did come as a shock to family members, they have since also been demanding proofs of identification. "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," Malkit Ram, brother of a Saganandlal who was among the 39 Indians killed in Mosul, said.

While most family members threatening to protest are from Punjab and Haryana, they say that they have also contacted families of victims from other states and have been assured support.