BAGHDAD: The mortal remains of the 39 Indians killed by ISIS in Iraq's Mosul were on Sunday handed over to Indian authorities in Baghdad. The remains will be flown back to India on Monday.
Indian Ambassador Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit said that the bodies had been taken to Baghdad International Airport and would be flown back on a military flight, arriving in India on Monday.
Minister of State for External Affairs Vijay Kumar Singh, who has flown to Iraq, saluted the remains at the airport as workers loaded the caskets on the aircraft. Singh condemned terrorism and expressed his government's stance in fighting it.
"We are against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," he told reporters, describing IS as "very cruel terrorist organization and our people have fallen to their bullets."
#WATCH MoS Mea VK Singh and other officials carry the mortal remains of the 38 Indians, which are being brought back to India from Iraq. Visuals from Baghdad airport (Source: VK Singh) pic.twitter.com/rQwVuOfnib
— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2018
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)