Published: Wed, March 21, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Govt verified facts about 39 Indians in Iraq

Govt verified facts about 39 Indians in Iraq

Masih was shot in the thigh but managed to escape to Kurdish-controlled Irbil.

Swaraj didn't forget to express her satisfaction over announcing the death of 39 Indians only after getting her hands at "concrete evidence".

However, Swaraj dismissed Masih claims during her statement in Rajya Sabha. "We reached there and requested Iraqi authorities to use a deep penetration radar, which detected many bodies under the surface", she told parliament. Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala, "The government had on seven occasions told the families of the 39 Indians kidnapped by Daesh that they were alive." he told reporters.

Asking why the minister repeatedly misled the nation and the families and gave them "false hopes", Surjewala said that the government had - seven times from 2014 till July 2017 - said the Indians were safe, alive and being provided basic amenities and food. "The plane carrying mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata", Sushma Swaraj said, addressing the Parliament.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that the 39 Indians, missing in Iraq have been killed.

"It is baseless that Masih was harassed and that he was kept in protective custody", she said.

Of the 39 Indians whose killings in Iraq were confirmed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj here on Tuesday, 27 were from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, six from Bihar and two from West Bengal. In the present case, after first confirmation, Iraq's Martyrs Foundation started conducting test on other bodies.

The victims were mostly from poor families in India's northern state of Punjab and had been working for a construction company in Mosul when they were rounded up. She added that no government can declare anyone dead without proof.

Dozens of mass graves have been discovered in territory once held by the Daesh terror group, though Iraq's government has only been able to examine a handful of them.

Hitting out at the government over the issue, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, "Giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack of transparency on part of the government".

Near-identical statements by other families have brought the official version under strain, made starker on the tragic day by a perception of grandstanding by a government that has often been accused of being obsessed with image management.

"Why did she keep saying they're alive and she'll bring them back?" After a missing complaint was filed from the family 9 out of the Indian's abducted in Iraq, Masih was arrested.

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