Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh on Sunday morning confirmed that he is leaving for Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of 39 Indians who were killed by terrorist group ISIS in Mosul. The former Army chief said that the families of the deceased have been informed about how the mortal remains would be handed over to them.
He said, “I am leaving for Iraq, will be getting back mortal remains of the 39 Indians. Will return to Amritsar, then Kolkata and then Patna. Families have been informed.”
Singh is slated to leave for Baghdad in a special C-17 plane at around 11 am on Sunday. He is expected to return with the mortal remains of Indians from the war-torn country by late Monday night or Tuesday morning.
The minister of state had said on Saturday that he was awaiting a nod from Baghdad before flying to the country. He had further said that the mortal remains of all Indians would be handed over to their families, who are in different states in India. “We will hand over the mortal remains to their families. They won't have to come to the airport,” the former Army chief had said.
This comes even as the Congress party has moved a privilege motion against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Singh saying they "deliberately misled" the families of the 39 Indians.
Making a statement on the issue in Lok Sabha recently, Sushma Swaraj had hailed the role of VK Singh in ascertaining the identity of the Indians who got killed in Iraq. She had made a special mention of him while addressing Parliament.
"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," she had further said.
Sushma Swaraj had also told the House that when VK Singh would return from Iraq with the mortal remains, the plane would first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata.