tiptrot.com May 27, 2018

Indians abducted by IS are dead: Sushma

21 March 2018, 03:25 | Bernice Figueroa

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

Speaking to ThePrint in July past year, when minister of state for external affairs Gen. (retd) V.K. Singh had gone to Iraq to look for the missing Indians, Anita had said: "Any time now, I will be getting a phone call that my husband has been found".

In 2014, as many as 40 Indians were taken hostage by the Islamic State when they took control of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.

Harjit Masih, who said he was the 40th Indian kidnapped, had claimed in 2015 that the others were all killed while he was in Iraq. But the government rejected it. One of them reportedly escaped by posing as a Muslim of Bangladeshi origin. "Our government doesn't believe in "missing means killed" theory", said Swaraj while declaring that she met the foreign ministers of respective countries personally to garner evidence.

Indian authorities then sent DNA samples from relatives of the missing workers. "The minister should have called us before exploding the bomb on us", Singh said.

Later, she addressed a press conference announcing the same and clarifying on the doubts raised over the deaths. "When they were killed is not known". Search operations led to a mound in Badoosh where locals said some bodies were buried by the ISIS.

Singh said the government earlier trusted on unreliable sources and maintained that they were safe and were held hostage at an undisclosed place. She said their bodies had been exhumed and a DNA analysis was done.

CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also wanted the Modi government to clarify why it kept giving the families of the abductees false hope of being alive for the past three years.

The Centre on Tuesday declared dead the 39 Indians who were missing in Iraq since June 2014 but the announcement aimed at providing closure to their families split open festering wounds and threw up the question whether the government knowingly raised false hopes. "My thoughts and prayers are with all of you today".

Most of the 39 Indians were from Punjab.

Condoling the deaths of 39 Indians, Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, in a tweet, expressed deep shock over the news of death being confirmed by the External Affairs Minister. "I had spoken the truth", asserted Masih, a resident of village Kala Afghana in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

"This government does not consider missing ones as being killed", Sushma said while addressing the media. He also said the workers had been in phone contact with their families and the Indian embassy in Baghdad in the days before their execution. "We came to know if from TV", Gurinder Kaur, 31, said.

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