Swaraj on Indians killed in Iraq: We did not keep anyone in dark

ANI | Updated: Mar 20, 2018 16:54 IST

New Delhi [India], Mar 20 (ANI): External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that the government did not keep anyone in the dark on the issue of 39 Indians killed in Iraq's Mosul.

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).

Following which, some of the families expressed anguish that till now Swaraj continued to assure them that the captured Indians were alive.

Clarifying her stand, Swaraj said, "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 and we did not keep anyone in dark. We have not given false hopes to anyone."

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

Th EAM further said that 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.

"DNA samples of 38 people have been matched, verification of one victim is under process," she said.

The EAM informed that out of the deceased, 27 people were from Punjab, six from Bihar, four from Himachal Pradesh and two from West Bengal, "The identity of one of them is yet to be verified."

Sushma Swaraj also said that Minister of State (MoS) External Affairs General V.K. Singh will go to Mosul in Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 Indian nationals killed there.

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