External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today to the higher house of the Parliament, Rajya Sabha that all the 39 Indians missing in Iraq’s Mosul area since June 2014 are dead.
In a parliament statement, she said,” All 39 Indians who were kidnapped in Iraq have died. With a heavy heart, I have to inform the House that they are no more.”
In June 2014, 39 Indian construction workers were abducted by ISIS in 2014. Majority of them are from Punjab.
Swaraj said that deep penetration radar has confirmed that all Indians were dead after their bodies were exhumed.
As a mark of respect, Rajya Sabha observed two minutes of silence for the deceased persons.
Swaraj said,” Their mortal remains were sent to Baghdad. For verification of bodies, DNA samples of relatives were sent there. Four governments Punjab, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar were involved.
A couple of weeks ago Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh had said that the Govt had started the DNA test of the workers.
“DNA samples, as received from our respective state government, have been forwarded to Iraqi authorities for inclusion in their database for matching with the DNA from the human remains being retrieved by them from mass graves. The report of the test is awaited,” Singh had told.
He will go to Iraq to bring the bodies back to India.
Last year the government had said that there was no evidence that they were killed by ISIS. It was believed that the missing Indians were probably kept in a jail in Badush where the fighting was still going on.