India, Iraq maintain 39 Indians alive, DNA test for kin normal procedure

ANI | Updated: Oct 22, 2017 06:40 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct.22 (ANI): The Government of India has said that asking relatives of the 39 Indians who went missing in Mosul, Iraq, three years ago to undergo DNA tests is normal procedure to confirm identification.

Both India and Iraq maintain that the 39 Indian nationals are still alive and authorities in both countries remain committed to continue their search for them on this assumption.

"All of us have been asked to undergo DNA test," Gurpinder, the sister of Manjinder, one of the missing Indians, told ANI.

It may be recalled that in July this year, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had firmly said in a statement in parliament that she would not declare the 39 Indians dead without concrete proof or evidence.

"It is a sin to declare a person dead without concrete evidence. I will not do this sin," Swaraj said in a statement in the Lok Sabha on the fate of 39 Indians missing in Iraq since 2014.

India has asked Iraq for help in locating the missing Indians after Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from ISIS, and New Delhi has repeatedly said it won't end the search for these missing citizens believing that they are still alive.

"This file will not close till there is proof that the 39 Indians are dead. I will not commit the sin of declaring them dead without any evidence," Swaraj had said in July, adding then that insofar as this emotive issue is concerned, there is no benefit to the government by misleading the people.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jafari is also on record as saying around that time that Baghdad does not have "substantial evidence" to prove that the missing Indians are dead.

The 39 persons, most of whom hail from Punjab, were working on projects near Mosul, when they were kidnapped during their evacuation.

India is on record as saying that every effort is being made by Iraq and other countries to help trace the abducted Indians. (ANI)

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