Indians who were kidnapped by ISIS in Iraq found dead

The Congress on Tuesday demanded that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj should apologise to families of the 39 Indians, killed in Iraq, for "misleading" them and giving "false hopes", and also demanded that the Narendra Modi government compensate them.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha today, Swaraj said they received confirmation yesterday that the DNA of the hostages had matched bodies exhumed from a mass grave near Mosul, one of the many in the area.

Iraq's foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jafri, while visiting India in July previous year said, The Iraq government does not have any confirmed information regarding the 39 Indians lost in Iraq. She said, "It is a sin to declare a person dead without concrete evidence".

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is expected to bring the remains of the missing Indians back to the country. The plane carrying the mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and finally to Kolkata.

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The victims - 31 from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh and four from Bihar and West Bengal - were construction workers and were employed by an Iraqi company in Mosul. "Not a single day was spared in our efforts to trace them after they went missing in June 2014", she said. "In fact, I told them that I have come to give them some sad and serious news", she said. After digging out the mortal remains of dead Indians, DNA test was conducted in Baghdad confirming that they were indeed the missing Indians. He said that the other 39 men were executed by the militants after they were captured.

"They were killed in front of my eyes", said Harjit Masih, who suffered a gunshot wound before he managed to escape. Iraqi authorities said the mass grave held 39 bodies, but only 38 have been positively identified through DNA analysis. Iraq said it would also coordinate with the embassy to return the bodies to India.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, in a series of tweets, said that using Parliament as an excuse for the families of 39 dead Indians having to learn of their heartbreaking loss from TV channels is unpardonable. He said that the workers had been in phone contact with their families and the Indian embassy in Baghdad in the days before their execution.

Indias ambassador to Iraq Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit said: "It is indeed a moment of deep grief and sadness for us to learn that a group of Indian workers in Mosul have become victims of the menace of terrorism". Government will send a special aircraft for bringing the dead bodies with proper documentation along with their identities.

  • Regina Walsh