Govt told us for 4 years that they are alive, says relative of Indian killed in Iraq

Ending all speculations about the fate of the 39 Indians who went missing in Iraq's Mosul since 2014, Swaraj declared them dead.

Govt told us for 4 years that they are alive, says relative of Indian killed in Iraq
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NEW DELHI: Shortly after External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj declared the 39 missing Indians in Iraq dead, families of the people urged to meet her. "For the past four years EAM was telling me that they were alive, don't know what to believe anymore. I am waiting to speak with her, no information was given to us, we heard her statement she made in Parliament," said Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh - one among the 39 Indians.

Ending all speculations about the fate of the 39 Indians who went missing in Iraq's Mosul since 2014, Swaraj declared them dead. "Out of the 40, who were kidnapped, one person managed to escape, while others were confirmed dead after DNA samples of their relatives matched from the bodies exhumed from a mound," she said in Parliament.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said, "Mortal remains were sent to Baghdad. For verification of bodies, the DNA samples of their relatives were sent there and four state governments - Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar - were involved in this."

"Yesterday, we got information that the DNA samples of 38 people have matched and DNA of the 39th person has matched 70 percent," Sushma told lawmakers in the Upper House.

"My husband went to Iraq in 2011 and I spoke to him last on 15 June, 2014. We were always told us that they were alive. We don't demand anything from the government," said Manjeet Kaur wife of Davinder Singh - one among the 39 Indians killed in Iraq.

Swaraj said that the Indians were killed by the dreaded terror outfit Islamic State (ISIS). "I would like to confirm with a heavy heart that they have been killed by the Islamic State militia," she added.

Brother of another Indian who was killed said, "We had got information that that my brother was abducted by terrorists, after that nothing was know about his whereabouts. My DNA test was done twice, but we received no information."

The EAM further informed that Union Minister and former Army chief General VK Singh will now go to Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq.

"The plane carrying mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata," Swaraj informed.

A group of Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, Bihar and Himachal, was taken hostage by ISIS when it overran Iraq's second largest city Mosul in 2014.

The workers were trying to leave Mosul when they were intercepted and taken hostage by the ISIS fighters.

One of the captured Indians, Harjit Masih from Gurdaspur, had managed to escape and claimed to have witnessed the massacre of the others.

The Government of India (GoI) rejected his claim and maintained that all efforts were on to find the missing Indians and, without any credible information, the workers would be considered alive.

The GoI had even asked Iraq for help in locating the missing Indians after Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from ISIS.

The government in Iraq too had earlier expressed its inability to confirm if Indians taken hostage by the ISIS in Mosul three years ago were alive or dead.

(With inputs from agencies)

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