Chandigarh: Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has spoken to Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh to follow up on the issue of bringing back the mortal remains of the Indian hostages killed in Islamic State's captivity in Iraq.
The chief minister, who had on Tuesday called up and also written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue, on Wednesday told mediapersons at the Vidhan Sabha that VK Singh has informed him that it would take around two weeks to bring back the mortal remains of the deceased, which were exhumed from a mass grave in Badush, a village northwest of Mosul in Iraq.
On Tuesday, the government told Parliament that 39 Indians abducted in Iraq in 2014 were killed by Islamic State terrorists and buried in a mass grave.
As many as 40 Indians were abducted by the terrorist organisation in June 2014 from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha.
In response to a query by mediapersons, Amarinder Singh said since the majority of those killed were from Punjab's Majha and Doaba regions, coffins with the remains were likely to arrive in Amritsar.
The state government was making all necessary arrangements to hand over the remains to the families for last rites of the deceased, the chief minister said, adding that he would also pursue with the Centre the issue of grant of compensation to the bereaved families.
Amarinder Singh said his government would try to find jobs for the kin of the deceased and would continue to pay the Rs 20,000 compensation which were already being given to the families.
While the state government had been providing a monthly assistance of Rs 20,000, the chief minister said that he would be grateful if the Centre could also give them due assistance, given the special circumstances surrounding the matter.
Amarinder Singh said that he had written to Swaraj on the issue on Tuesday and was hopeful about a positive response from the Centre.
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Updated Date: Mar 21, 2018 18:18:35 IST