ISIS Killed 39 Indians: Sushma Swaraj Tells Parliament

Lena Tucker
March 21, 2018

However, then Swaraj did not believe him and said firmly said in the Parliament that she would not declare the 39 Indians dead without concrete proof or evidence. However, Indian authorities had said they would not corroborate that the workers were dead until it could be confirmed by concrete evidence.

Sushma also said that Minister of State V K Singh would be travelling to Iraq to bring back the bodies.

The people killed were "citizens of the friendly Indian state", said Najiha, the head of Iraq's Martyrs Establishment, a government body dealing with people killed in the fight against ISIS.

While speaking at the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj explained that the plane carrying the mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and Kolkata.

The 39 were Indian labourers who were taken hostage by ISIS were primarily from Punjab, and were trying to leave Mosul when they were kidnapped. Masih said that Indians were working at a factory in Iraq in 2014. She told parliament on Tuesday that Masih had posed as a Muslim from Bangladesh to escape Iraq.

Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha that the 3-year-long wait for the families of those missing Indians, while ending with the sad news of the death of their near ones, had now reached closure.

Detailing what may have happened to the 39 Indians, Swaraj said: "the next day when the ISIS counted the heads, they found out that only 39 Indians were there".

Harjit Masih is the lone survivor who was kidnapped along with 39 others by the terrorist outfit but managed to escape.

Until October past year, both India and Iraq had contended that the 39 people were alive.

The bodies were later exhumed with help from Iraqi authorities and sent for DNA testing to Baghdad, the report said. "To track down the bodies of our people and take them to Baghdad to test was a huge task". Sushma Swaraj said that 39 Indians have been killed by ISIS. Her only wish now is to hand over the mortal remains of the deceased to their families, so they could receive proper last rites. One body was a 70 per cent match, she said.

Out of the total 39 Indians killed, 27 are from Punjab, six from Bihar, four from Himachal Pradesh and two from West Bengal.

In a September 26, 2016 dated letter, the MEA informed Gurpinder Kaur - her brother was one of the captive Indians - that Swaraj was monitoring the situation carefully, and that in light of the situation, the Iraqi camp Erbil was upgraded to the level of Consulate General of India. Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "My deepest condolences to the families of those who have lived in hope, that their loved ones will return unharmed".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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