No stone unturned to trace them: PM Modi on death of 39 Indians in Iraq

'Every Indian grieves with those who lost their loved ones in Mosul,' said the PM

No stone unturned to trace them: PM Modi on death of 39 Indians in Iraq

NEW DELHI: Expressing grief at the death of 39 Indians, who went missing in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that no stones were unturned in trying to trace them. Taking to Twitter, he tweeted, “The MEA and particularly my colleagues Sushma Swaraj Ji and General V K Singh Ji left no stone unturned in trying to trace and safely bring back those we lost in Mosul.”

“Every Indian grieves with those who lost their loved ones in Mosul. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families and pay our respects to the Indians killed in Mosul,” he added.

 

 

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed on Tuesday that the 39 Indians, who went missing in Iraq's Mosul since 2014, are 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, '' EAM Swaraj said in Rajya Sabha.

She added that Harjit Masih, the Indian worker who claims to have escaped from the clutches of Islamic State (IS) captivity in Iraq in June 2014, was kept in protective custody, and that the stories stated by him are false.

Shortly after Swaraj's statement, kin of the deceased questioned the government's previous statements of bringing them back.

“Why did she keep saying they're alive & she'll bring them back? She could've said she'll bring them back only if they're alive. I want to see DNA reports. We'll get answers only after meeting her,” said Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh, one of the deceased.

“We should have been contacted as soon as they received the information. Had that been done it would not have been such a huge blow. We feel betrayed from all sides,” she added.

Congress party, meanwhile, claimed that the government made the sudden announced due to panic.

“Unfortunately the one who is playing politics on this issue is Sushma Swaraj ji. She misled the parliament and kin seven times. Today Martyrs Foundation announced they will hold media briefing on the issue, so as a result Government panicked and announced before them,” said Congress spokesperson RS Surjewala.

“Congress has expressed grief at death of 39 Indians in Iraq. Modi Govt has passed all limits of heartlessness, when the whole world was saying they have died, the Indian government assured the country and the kin seven times that they are alive,” he added.

A group of Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, Bihar and Himachal, was taken hostage by IS 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.

 

With agency inputs

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