Kin of 39 Indians killed in Iraq mourn

ANI | Updated: Mar 20, 2018 15:18 IST

New Delhi [India] March 20 (ANI): Kin of 39 missing Indians in Iraq on Tuesday mourned the death of their near and dear ones after the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj broke this news in the Rajya Sabha.

Some of the families have expressed anguish that till now Swaraj continued to assure them that the captured Indians were alive.

Earlier in the day, Swaraj told Rajya Sabha that 39 Indians, who went missing in Mosul in Iraq in 2014, have been killed by the dreaded terror outfit Islamic State (IS).

Amritsar resident Gurpinder Kaur, the sister of Manjinder Singh who was among 39 Indians, told ANI, "For past four years, Swaraj was telling me that they were alive. I don't know what to believe. I am waiting to speak with her. We heard her statement that she made in the Parliament."

Jalandhar resident Manjeet Kaur's husband Davinder Singh was also killed in Iraq. She was not able to digest the news as she also believed the government, which refused to confirm that her husband was not alive.

"My husband went to Iraq in 2011 and I spoke to him last on June 15, 2014. We were always told us that they (39 Indians) were alive," Kaur told ANI, adding that "we don't demand anything from the government".

Puroshottam Tiwari, uncle of Vidya Bhushan Tiwari, who was also among 39 killed Indians, could not express his feelings.

"I don't know what to say. Since 2014, I had been pleading with the government to bring him back somehow and today they say that he is no more," he told ANI in Siwan, Bihar.

Forty Indians - from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal - went missing in June 2014 after Mosul fell to the Islamic State. In 2015, one of them, Harjit Masih, managed to flee from the clutches of Islamic State and said all other Indians were killed.

However, then Swaraj did not believe him and said firmly said in the 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 in 2017. (ANI)