Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh will leave for war-torn Iraq on Sunday, April 1, to bring back the mortal remains of 39 Indians who were killed by terrorist group ISIS in Mosul. This comes even as the Congress party has moved a privilege motion against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Singh saying they “deliberately misled” the families of the 39 Indians.
Making a statement on the issue in Lok Sabha recently, Sushma Swaraj had hailed the role of VK Singh in ascertaining the identity of the Indians who got killed in Iraq. She had made a special mention of him while addressing Parliament.
“Out of the 40, who were kidnapped, one person managed to escape, while others were confirmed dead after DNA samples of their relatives matched from the bodies exhumed from a mound,” Sushma had said.
“Mortal remains were sent to Baghdad. For verification of bodies, the DNA samples of their relatives were sent there and four state governments – Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar – were involved in this,” she had further said.
Sushma Swaraj had also told the House that when VK Singh would return from Iraq with the mortal remains, the plane would first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata.
A group of Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, Bihar and Himachal, was taken hostage by ISIS when it overran Iraq’s second largest city Mosul in 2014.
The workers were trying to leave Mosul when they were intercepted and taken hostage by the ISIS fighters.
One of the captured Indians, Harjit Masih from Gurdaspur, had managed to escape and claimed to have witnessed the massacre of the others.
The Government of India (GoI) rejected his claim and maintained that all efforts were on to find the missing Indians and, without any credible information, the workers would be considered alive.
The GoI had even asked Iraq for help in locating the missing Indians after Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul from ISIS.
The government in Iraq too had earlier expressed its inability to confirm if Indians taken hostage by the ISIS in Mosul three years ago were alive or dead.