39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq dead: It is parliamentary procedure to first inform the house, says Sushma Swaraj

As many as 40 Indians were originally abducted by the ISIS in June 2015 from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj added.

UNFPA India chief, two others accused of harassment External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (file)

The 39 Indians, who were abducted by ISIS in Iraq’s Mosul three years ago, were killed and their bodies have been recovered, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament on Tuesday. The DNA testing has confirmed the identity of 38 Indians, the government was told on Tuesday, she added.  The 39th person’s DNA has a match of 70 per cent. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will be flying to Iraq to bring back the bodies on a special flight, Swaraj said.

The government had been maintaining that the 39 Indians were “well and alive”.  Swaraj, in a statement in Parliament in July last year, said that there was no evidence to state that they were killed by the Islamic terrorists, adding that she would not commit the sin of declaring them dead.

The Opposition, meanwhile, attacked the government for delaying the announcement of the death of the 39 Indians.  Slamming the government, MP Shashi Tharoor said: “This is saddening for every Indian, rest I would ask why was this information delayed by the govt, they should tell how it happened when they died. Also, the way govt gave high hopes to the families was not right.” Congress chief Rahul Gandhi also expressed condolences to the families of the victims. Read what Sushma Swaraj told Parliament

  1. 4:03PM
    20 Mar, 18

    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. Some kin of the victims have questioned as to why they were not told about the deaths before the parliament. It is the parliamentary procedure to first inform the house, so it was my duty: Sushma Swaraj

  2. 4:01PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Sushma Swaraj addresses media

    DNA samples of 38 people have been matched, verification of 1 victim is under process. We had been saying that we neither have the evidence of them being alive nor the evidence of them being dead. We maintained this in 2014 and 2017. We did not keep anyone in dark. We gave no false hopes to anyone:, says EAM Sushma Swaraj. 

  3. 3:17PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Delhi assembly pays condolences

    Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed grief at the killings of 39 Indians in Iraq, and the Delhi Assembly observed a two-minute silence to pay homage to them.  'Extremely saddened to know about the killings of 39 Indian workers who were held hostage in Iraq. Entire nation stands with the families of victims,' Kejriwal tweeted.

  4. 3:14PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Families mourn death
  5. 2:37PM
    20 Mar, 18
  6. 2:30PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Sympathies to families of those killed: Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur 

    We express our sympathies to families of all 39 Indians who were killed in Iraq's Mosul. There were four people from Himachal Pradesh among them. The State government stands with the affected families: Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur 

  7. 2:23PM
    20 Mar, 18
  8. 2:22PM
    20 Mar, 18
    A complete failure of MEA and govt: Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa

    Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa said that he was saddened by the news confirming the deaths of those missing in Iraq and his thoughts and prayers are with their families.

    "Why did Sushma Swaraj mislead the families for more than 3 years.This is complete failure of MEA & GOI," he tweeted. "I raised this issue many a times in Rajya Sabha that why is the Government playing with emotions of families by giving them false hopes. Can there be anything more shameful than this?" Bajwa added. Bajwa appealed to to the government of India and Punjab government to provide all possible help and financial aid to the families.

  9. 2:18PM
    20 Mar, 18
    AAP leader demands Sushma Swaraj's resignation

    AAP leader and Kharar MLA Kanwar Sandhu demanded the resignation of the union minister. "Sushma Swaraj should resign as external affairs minister taking responsibility for the lies she spread about the 39 missing Indians in Iraq," Sandhu said in a tweet.

  10. 2:14PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Deepest condolences to the families of those who lived in hope: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi
  11. 2:13PM
    20 Mar, 18
  12. 2:09PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Think the govt knew about deaths, but did not reveal it because of political reasons: Harjit Masih, the lone Indian who escaped from Iran

    Harjit Masih, the lone Indian who escaped from Iran thinks that the government knew about the deaths, but withheld information because of political reasons. 'I have been saying from the day one that they were killed. I told this to the government when they kept in custody for one year. I think government knew about the deaths but due to political reasons, it did not go public with it. Even Bangladeshi men had confirmed that they were separated from the group of Indians.'

    Masih who faces a case on the complaint of families of dead men and is out on bail said: 'Now, since the government has admitted that the men are dead, the case against me should be withdrawn.' The case against Masih was registered on the directions of Ministry of External Affairs after families of missing men approached the ministry.

    Masih who works as daily wager said he had to spend six months in jail for no fault and only for speaking the truth. He also raised questions over government's exercise to collect DNA samples of the family members of dead Indians. 'If the government is citing DNA matching to say that men are dead, it should hand over bodies or any remains of the dead with which DNA samples were matched

  13. 2:04PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Why the BJP govt kept giving false hopes, asks Sitaram Yechury

    'Our condolences to the family members of the deceased. The question about why the BJP government kept giving them false hopes of being alive for past 3 years must be answered,' CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury said on Twitter

  14. 1:54PM
    20 Mar, 18
  15. 1:54PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Wish families strength during this difficult time: Jyotiraditya Scindia

    "Tragic news of 39 Indians confirmed dead in Iraq - my thoughts and prayers with their families who’d been living in hope. Wish them strength during this difficult time," Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia wrote on Twitter

  16. 1:51PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Indian State should retaliate against the ISIS: Subramanian Swamy

    'The killing in cold blood by ISIS of 39 Indians in Iraq require the Indian State's retaliation against ISIS. For this we need ananti-terrorr compact of India, Israel, and US to search and destroy ISIS wherever they are located,' tweeted BJP MP Subramanian Swamy

  17. 1:48PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Don't demand anything from the govt, says family of a victim
  18. 1:46PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Job of the opposition to take things the wrong way: General VK Singh

    Countering the Opposition, General VK Singh, who supervised efforts to track down the Indian workers in Mosul, said it took efforts to verify the facts. "Sushma Swaraj had earlier stated that until there is strong proof of their death she will not inform the house. It is the job of the opposition to take things the wrong way. I do not want to say anything about it" he said. "Different news came from different angles, hence an effort was made to verify facts by going there, then DNA matching was done. There was hope, but then seeing the situation there chances of them being alive seemed slim. Legal procedures are underway there & might take 8-10 days, we are waiting for them to complete," he said. 

  19. 1:44PM
    20 Mar, 18
    Financial assistance should be given to families: Ghulam Nabi Azad

    Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad demanded financial assistance for the families of the victims. "Congress offers condolences to families of those who were killed in Iraq. We are with their families in this painful & sad time. It is our demand that they should be given financial assistance by central & state govt & also employment in govt. service," he said reporters outside Parliament

  20. 1:42PM
    20 Mar, 18
    For the last 4 years was told that they were alive: Family of a victim
  21. 1:41PM
    20 Mar, 18
    It was known since earlier: Amarinder Singh

    "We had expected this, it should have been announced earlier, it was known since much earlier," Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said.