39 Indians Abducted by ISIS in Mosul are Dead, Says Sushma Swaraj
40 Indians, along with some Bangladeshis, were abducted by the terrorist organization ISIS three years ago in Mosul, Iraq.
All 39 Indians who were missing following abduction in June 2014 by ISIS at Mosul, Iraq, were killed and their bodies have been recovered, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in a statement in the parliament on March 20.
“As many as 40 Indians along with some Bangladeshis were abducted by the terrorist organization ISIS three years ago. But one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh and the remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badosh and killed later,” she said, the Indian Express reported.
Swaraj added that on March 19, the ministry received the information that DNA samples of 38 people have matched, and the DNA of the 39th person has matched 70 per cent. A deep penetration radar confirmed the death of those who were abducted. Their mortal remains were exhumed from a mass grave in Badosh, and sent to Baghdad for DNA sample verification, she added, according to the Times of India.
“The last discussion on the matter was held on July 27, 2017 when I had said that I will not declare them dead till I get any concrete proof. It will be a great irresponsibility and a sin on the part of our government. But I had said the day I will get a strong proof, I will request the chairman to stop the Parliament proceedings and give information about it. And if Parliament would not be in session, I will inform the people of India within 10 minutes on Twitter,” Swaraj said in the parliament.
A group of 40 Indian workers, hailing mostly from Punjab, were kidnapped by the ISIS when the terrorist organization attacked Iraq’s second largest city Mosul in 2014. One of the abductees, Harjit Masih, managed to flee when ISIS released more than 50 Bangladeshi workers. He said that the other 39 men were executed by the militants after they were captured. But the government dismissed his claims, with Swaraj claiming to have six sources confirming that they were alive. The 39 missing men worked for a construction company in the Iraqi city.
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh will go to Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the Indians killed in Iraq, Swaraj said. The aircraft, which will carry the mortal remains, will first go to Amritsar where 31 bodies of those from Punjab and four from Himachal Pradesh would be handed over to the relatives. It will then travel to Patna and finally to Kolkata, the minister added.
Her address to the parliament was updated on the social media.
Swaraj said the mass grave at Badosh had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features like long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs. In order to verify the bodies, DNA samples of relatives were sent to Baghdad, and four state governments — Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar — were involved in the process.
“The first match was of Sandeep, yesterday 38 matches were confirmed and 39th person had been 70 per cent matched because DNA of his relatives was used in absence of his parents,” she said adding, “It has been the most difficult and complex task to get the proof.”
Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh took to Twitter to offer his condolences to the families of victims.
Shattered at the heart-wrenching news from @SushmaSwaraj that the 39 Indians missing in Iraq, most of whom were Punjabis, are dead. My heart goes out to the families who had been living in hope since their reported abduction by ISIS in 2014. Prayers with all of them.
— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) March 20, 2018