Thirty-nine Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul three years ago have died, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament on Tuesday.
"Deep penetration radar confirmed that all Indians were dead after all bodies were exhumed," Swaraj said, adding that the mortal remains of the persons were sent to Baghdad. "For verification of the bodies, DNA samples of their relatives were sent there. Four state government — Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar were involved in the process," she said.
Yesterday we got information that DNA samples of 38 people have matched and DNA of the 39th person has matched 70 per cent: EAM Sushma Swaraj in #RajyaSabha on 39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq's Mosul pic.twitter.com/almEfDANlz
— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018
General VK Singh will travel to Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the Indians killed, the foreign minister said. "The plane carrying mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata."
The search for the missing persons carried on for most of 2017, with the external affairs ministry claiming no knowledge of their location.
In July 2017, after ruckus in the Lok Sabha over the issue of the 39 Indians missing in Mosul, Swaraj said that there is no evidence to substantiate the claim that they have died. "And declaring anyone dead without proof is a sin that I won't commit," she had said.
Earlier, the Punjab Congress had accused the external affairs minister of "misleading" the country on the fate of missing Indians abducted in Iraq, and asked her to provide "credible information" on the issue.
The group of Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, was taken hostage by the Islamic State when it overran Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, in 2014. The workers were reportedly trying to leave Mosul when they were intercepted.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Mar 20, 2018 12:25:20 IST