Indians killed in Iraq: Aircraft carrying 38 bodies reaches India

Of the 39 who died, 27 were from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, two from West Bengal and six from Bihar. One body is not being brought back for now as DNA testing had only provided a 70 per cent match; the others have had more than 95 per cent match.

A casket of one of the 38 victims being loaded onto an IAF aircraft in Baghdad on Sunday. (AP Photo)

A special aircraft carrying the bodies of 38 of 39 Indians, who went missing in Mosul in June 2014 and whom the government recently declared dead, landed in Amritsar on Monday. Of the 39 who died, 27 were from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, two from West Bengal and six from Bihar. One body is not being brought back for now as DNA testing had only provided a 70 per cent match; the others have had more than 95 per cent match.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who had left for Iraq on Sunday, returned with the mortal remains of those killed by IS militants in Iraq.

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  1. 8:55PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Casket carrying the mortal remains of Indians, killed in Iraq, arrived at Amritsar International Airport earlier today. (Express photo by Simranjit Singh)

  2. 8:27PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Technical Education, Training & Skill Development Minister Purnendu Basu had arrived at the Airport to receive the mortal remains of Khokon Sikdar and Samar Tikadar. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

  3. 8:10PM
    02 Apr, 18
  4. 8:09PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Mortal remains of two people, who had been killed in Iraq, were brought to Kolkata on Monday evening. They were among the 40 Indians abducted by terror group IS from Mosul in Iraq in June 2014.

  5. 6:14PM
    02 Apr, 18
  6. 5:11PM
    02 Apr, 18
  7. 4:34PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Bharat Bandh: Protests across country turn violent, four killed in Madhya Pradesh

    Meanwhile, the protests against the SC/ST act turned violent in Punjab and Haryana as with protesters resorting to stone pelting and vandalism. While rail traffic was affected in Ambala and Ferozepur, protesters targetted two-wheelers, a car, and a chemist shop in Bathinda. The Indo-Pakistan bus service, 'Sada-e-Sarhad', running between Delhi and Lahore was also disrupted.

    Four deaths were reported in Madhya Pradesh as two people were killed in Gwalior while one person each died in Bhind and Morena districts during the violence. Following this, curfew was imposed in three districts and the Army was called in to control the situation.

  8. 4:19PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Soldiers carry the coffin of one of the deceased. The remains of 39 Indian workers killed by the ISIS in Mosul were stored in a freezer at the Medico Legal Institute, Iraq’s forensic sciences department in Baghdad.  (Source: Twitter/ANI)

  9. 4:16PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Mortal remains of the 38 Indians who were killed in Iraq, brought to Amritsar (Source: Twitter/ANI)

  10. 3:27PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Harjit Masih was not with these 39 men

    VK Singh reiterated government's stance on Harjit Masih, who claims to be the lone survivor, saying he was not with the 39 men who were killed by IS militants in Iraq.

  11. 3:24PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Sidhu assures jobs to kin

    Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu assured jobs to the kin of those who were killed in Iraq. "We will take very little time to provide government jobs to the kin of deceased... it will be given to them on the basis of their educational qualifications," he said.

  12. 3:16PM
    02 Apr, 18

    So far, four bodies have been released.  These bodies, which have been handed over to the respective families, were moved out of the airport in ambulances. The deceased were natives of Himachal Pradesh.

  13. 3:07PM
    02 Apr, 18

    The reports of DNA sample-matching are also being handed over to the kin along with the bodies.

  14. 3:05PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Forensic reports say the men were killed more than an year ago, but couldn't give any conclusive period.

  15. 3:02PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Results of forensic examination

    "Forensic examination reveal some of our men were shot dead... in few of the cases, the forensic examinations could not give exact cause of death... forensic examination findings are also not conclusive of the time when they were killed," VK Singh said.

  16. 2:54PM
    02 Apr, 18

    Navjot Singh Sidhu says Rs 5 lakh and a job to one member per family would be given from the side of the Punjab government. Rs 20,000 monthly financial compensation would continue, he said.

  17. 2:53PM
    02 Apr, 18

    When asked if kin of the 38 Indians would be given jobs, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said, "This is not a game of football. Both state and central governments are sensitive. EAM had asked the families for the details of their members who can be given jobs. We will review it."

  18. 2:42PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Aircraft carrying 38 bodies of Indians killed in Iraq lands in Amritsar

    Aircraft carrying 38 bodies of Indians killed in Iraq lands in Amritsar with Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh on board. Singh had left for Baghadad on Sunday to bring the bodies back.

  19. 2:11PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Sidhu asks parties not to politicise the incident

    Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Local Bodies Minister, has reached the Amritsar airport alongwith Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Vijay Sampla to received the bodies of the Iraq victims. Sidhu met the family members at the airport and assured that the government would rehabilitate them. "We shall rehabilitate all the families. Government is with you in this hour of grief," Sidhu said, while appealing to all parties not to politicise the incident.

  20. 1:44PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Families demand they should be allowed to open the coffins at the airport

    Families have demanded they should be allowed to open the coffins at the airport after the district administration advised them agains it. They have asked Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha to allow them. However, the DC has refused permission citing time constraints. Sangha said they have alloted 4-7 minutes for departure per coffin from the airport. "Thus, families can not be allowed to open with the coffins there," he said.

  21. 12:45PM
    02 Apr, 18
    'Had Swaraj not been the foreign minister, no one would have cared to bring the bodies back'

    The news about arrival of remains of four youths from Himachal Pradesh, three of them from Kangra and one Mandi district, has brought relief and pain too for the families. The families, who were furious on being kept in the dark about the fate of their dear ones, were inconsolable on learning about the arrival of the moral remains. Relatives and neighbours thronged the residence of Aman in village Passu near Dharamshala. “It’s his destiny that he has to return like this, a lifeless and soulless person wrapped –up in his mortal remains “ said Ramesh Chand, a retired army personnel. Praising External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, he said, “If opportunity comes, I will go to Sushma Swaraj to thank her for helping to bring the moral remains. Had she not been the foreign minister, no one would have cared to even know about these boys. I salute her spirit and mother-like sensitivity to the issue,” he told the Indian Express.

  22. 12:26PM
    02 Apr, 18
    Punjab CM asks protesters to let bodies of Iraq victims be ferried without hindrance

    In the wake of a bandh called by a number of Dalit organisations today to protest against the alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to the protesters to let the mortal remains of the Iraq victims be ferried to their native villages without any hindrance. He has also directed the Punjab police to provide strict security for the same along the routes, from the airport to the respective native villages of the victims. Follow LIVE Updates of Bharat bandh here

  23. 11:59AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Aircraft carrying bodies of 38 Indians to land at 1.30 pm

    As per the information we have received, the bodies are expected to reach the international airport at Amritsar at around 1:30 pm today. From there the aircraft will go to Patna, followed by Kolkata. 

  24. 9:53AM
    02 Apr, 18

    Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who is bringing the bodies of the 38 Indians killed in Mosul, said the burden of some responsibilities were much more and tweeted a video with the hashtag "RestInPeaceMyFellowIndians".

  25. 9:46AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Punjab chalking out assistance package, no word from Centre

    MEA officials, meanwhile, said External Affairs Ministry will only play a “facilitator’s role” in awarding compensation, but any such decision on central level will have to be taken by Home Ministry. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said his government would work out a proper assistance package for the families of the victims killed in Iraq and would continue giving them a monthly pension of Rs 20,000 until it is done.

  26. 9:38AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Here is a roundup of the events that happened

    On March 20, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had told Parliament that as many as 40 Indians were abducted by terror group IS from Mosul in Iraq in June 2014, but one of them, Harjit Masih, escaped by posing as a Bangladeshi Muslim. The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed, she had said. A political slugfest erupted, with Congress accusing Swaraj of keeping the victims' families in the dark for so long and being 'insensitive'. Congress leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Ministry of External Affairs had forcefully asserted in Parliament last year that the abducted Indians were alive, but was now saying they were dead. However, Swaraj defended the move by saying, 'It would have been a sin had we handed over anybody's body claiming it to be those of our people, just for the sake of closing files.'

  27. 9:26AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Here is why there was a delay in bringing the bodies back

    The remains of 39 Indian workers killed by the ISIS in Mosul were stored in a freezer at the Medico Legal Institute, Iraq’s forensic sciences department in Baghdad. Iraq’s procedures to hand over mortal remains for transfer outside the country are lengthy, including documentation such as travel papers of the deceased. This is why there was a delay in bringing back the bodies. Also, the Al Shuhaada Foundation or Martyrs’ Foundation, the government agency that found the mass grave where the bodies were buried, has its own procedures for handing over remains.

  28. 9:08AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Amritsar Deputy Commissioner says all arrangements have been made to transport the bodies

    Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said all arrangements have been made to transport the mortal remains of 31 Indians to different places in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. "All necessary arrangements have been made to transport the mortal remains of 31 Indians killed in Iraq, who hail from different places in Punjab and Himachal, to their native places when the bodies reach today," Sangha told PTI. "As per the information we have received, the bodies are expected to reach the international airport at Amritsar at around 1:30 pm today," Sangha said.

  29. 9:00AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Parliamentary panel to discuss 'safety of Indian workers in conflict zones' today

    Meanwhile, a parliamentary panel standing committee headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has called a meeting on Monday to deliberate upon the “safety and security of Indian workers in conflict zones”. Despite the tragedy in Mosul, more and more peple from Punjab are making a beeline for Iraq. Some even choose agents to find work in Iraq and reach project sites there through Dubai or Iran. 

  30. 8:52AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Navjot Singh Sidhu to receive mortal remains at Amritsar airport

    The Punjab government has deputed Local Bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to receive the mortal remains at the airport. Haryana Food and Civil Supplies minister Krishan Kapoor and Deputy Commissioner, Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), Sandeep Kumar will be present at the airport to receive the mortal remains of those from their state.

  31. 8:45AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Family members of victims told not to open coffins

    Some of the family members of the victims said doctors and the district administration had advised them not to open the coffins and conduct the last rites immediately, “within 15-20 minutes of bodies reaching homes”. The last rites will be performed under supervision of the district administration concerned in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. “We wanted to keep the remains for a couple of days because some of our relatives have to reach from faraway places, but the district administration has advised us that it would not be possible to keep the remains for long. We have now planned to perform the cremation around 4 pm tomorrow,” said Surinder Kaur, mother of Gurdeep Singh of Jaidpur village in Punjab.

  32. 8:43AM
    02 Apr, 18

    The Iraqi Health Ministry said on Sunday that it handed over bodies of 38 Indian workers to the Indian Embassy in Iraq. Indian Ambassador to Iraq Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit said the bodies had been taken to Baghdad International Airport and would be flown back on a military flight.

  33. 8:38AM
    02 Apr, 18
    Aircraft carrying bodies of 38 Indians leaves from Baghdad International Airport

    Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh has left for India from Baghdad International Airport and is bringing back the bodies of 38 of the 39 Mosul victims. The special military aircraft will first stop at Amritsar and the bodies will be handed over to the relatives. Then Singh will go to Patna, followed by Kolkata. Of the 39 who died, 27 are from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, two from West Bengal and six from Bihar.

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