India finds remains of 39 Indians taken hostage by ISIS in Iraq

Alan Olson
March 21, 2018

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed in the Rajya Sabha today that the 39 Indians were killed in the Iraqi city of Mosul, liberated from the dreaded group in June previous year.

Gurpinder Kaur, the sister of one of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq, today said she finds it hard to believe her brother is no more because External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had assured her for years that he is alive.

"All the DNA have fully matched, except one whose only 70 percent DNA samples could be matched with those of his relatives as his parents are not alive", added the minister while making the announcement in the parliament upper house Rajya Sabha.

Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jafri, while visiting India in July a year ago said, The Iraq government does not have any confirmed information regarding the 39 Indians lost in Iraq.

Previous year the government had said that there was no evidence that they were killed by ISIS.

"The MEA and particularly my colleagues Sushma Swaraj ji and General VK Singh ji left no stone unturned in trying to trace and safely bring back those we lost in Mosul", Modi said. It will be flown in a special aircraft which will first land in Amritsar or Jalandhar, followed by Patna and then Kolkata, Swaraj said.

The abducted workers, mostly from northern India, had been employed by a construction company near Mosul when militants overran the Iraqi city and seized wide swaths of territory.

But Swaraj has consistently disputed his account of the hostages' deaths and said on Tuesday that Masih had escaped from Iraq by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that Swaraj has been misleading the Parliament and the families of the victims.

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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". The man named, Harjit Masih, managed to run from the site, and after his return claimed that all the 39 Indians were killed by the ISIS in the Islamic country.

Mosul was freed in July previous year and after that the government came to know about a mound located in Badoosh where ISIS was believed to have buried the bodies, Swaraj had earlier told the Parliament.

Swaraj said the authorities in Baghdad helped identify the mass grave and with the help of deep penetration radar, the buried bodies were discovered and exhumed.

Asked whether the government would consider compensation to the families of the victims, Swaraj said she would talk to the concerned state governments.

Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features like long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs. They were kidnapped by ISIS in Mosul in 2014.

"The bodies were sent to Baghdad for DNA testing".

Of the deceased, 27 people were from Punjab, six were from Bihar, four from Himachal Pradesh and two from West Bengal.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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