Govt verified facts about 39 Indians in Iraq

21 March 2018, 03:26 | Isaac Mcdaniel

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

One of them escaped posing as a Bangladeshi Muslim. A month later, when Indian officials arrived, they found that 39 Indians taken hostage by the terrorists of the so-called caliphate were missing.

Puroshottam Tiwari, uncle of Vidya Bhushan Tiwari, who was also among 39 killed Indians, could not express his feelings.

However, Swaraj dismissed Masih claims during her statement in Rajya Sabha.

She said the bodies were spotted using deep penetration radar and were exhumed from mass graves.

The bodies were recovered from a mound of earth near Badush, a village northwest of Mosul, and DNA tests had confirmed them to be those of the construction workers.

"It is my appeal to the Government of India and the Punjab government to provide all possible help and financial aid to families of 39 Indians killed in Iraq", he tweeted.

Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, describing it as a tragedy for the entire country, asked why the government had forcefully asserted a year ago that they were alive. "We'll get answers only after meeting her", said Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh, one of the deceased.

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She said no government can declare anyone dead without proof and her government does not believe in the theory of "missing, believed to be killed". He added that he was brought back to India within weeks of the shootout, but was "released" by the government months later.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today slammed the Congress for protesting in Lok Sabha while she was speaking on the death of 39 Indians in Iraq. Of the 40 Indians, Harjit Masih from Gurdaspur had managed to escape and had claimed to have witnessed the massacre of the others. The bodies were then sent to Baghdad for DNA testing.

Narrating the incident, Masih said the Indians were kidnapped by the militants and after some days they fired indiscriminately at them. Reiterating her statements from the House, she added, "This wasn't falsehood, this was a tireless effort". "The government has misled the 39 families who lost their relatives", said Harjit Masih.

Most of the workers were from the northern state of Punjab. "Four state governments -Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar -were involved in the process", the minister said.

"Why did the govt give false hope to the nation for three and a half years that the people were still alive?"

"Why did she keep saying they're alive and she'll bring them back?"

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