20 March, New Delhi
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said the government is making arrangements to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 Indian workers who were found killed in Mosul in Iraq.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi this evening, she said the Indian Embassy in Iraq has been directed to make all arrangements to bring the bodies as early as possible.
In reply to a query, the Minister said the bodies of the Indian workers had been identified after matching their DNA.
Giving a detailed account of government’s efforts to trace them, Mrs Swaraj said she first informed Parliament as soon as she got the information before informing their family members. She said the government never kept the families of murdered Indians in dark.
The Minister said New Delhi is not aware of the date of their deaths. She said the dead include 27 from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, six from Bihar and two from West Bengal.
On Harjeet Masih, who claimed that he was harassed, the Minister said that his claims are absolutely incorrect and he was kept in protective custody. Masih had claimed to have escaped from the captivity of Islamic state. The Indians were missing in Mosul since 2014.
Earlier, Mrs Swaraj hit out at the Congress for not allowing her to make a statement in the Lok Sabha. She said, Congress party played politics even on the death of Indians which was not expected of it. The Minister accused the Congress Party of playing dirty politics.
Earlier this morning, sharing the information in the Rajya Sabha, Mrs Swaraj said her deputy Gen. V K Singh will go to Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the Indians killed.