39 Indians killed in Mosul; news updates: Will leave no stones unturned in bringing our dead back, tweets Modi

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39 Indians killed in Mosul; news updates: Will leave no stones unturned in bringing our dead back, tweets Modi
  • 18:23 (IST)

    Informing families through television unpardonable, says Omar Abdullah

    National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to criticise the way the government handled this issue. He said, "Senior people in MEA, if not the Minister and her junior minister themselves, should have spoken to each of the 39 families before the news of the deaths was made public."

  • 18:07 (IST)

    Govt will leave no stones unturned in bringing back those we lost in Mosul, tweets PM Modi 

  • 18:02 (IST)

    Intelligence agencies knew of deaths in 2014; Govt waited for liberation before announcement

    Mosul was declared liberated from the Islamic State in July 2017. A month later, when Indian officials arrived, they found that 39 Indians taken hostage by the terrorists of the so-called caliphate were missing. The Indian authorities were informed about mass graves in Badush, a village northwest of Mosul, which had a prison cell operated by the Islamic State terrorists.

    A missive was sent to New Delhi, which contacted the state government to arrange DNA samples of family members of 39 missing Indians. The process was finally completed with the help of respective district magistrates in October- November 2017.

    Read the full article here

  • 17:53 (IST)

    Martyrs Foundation's statement on recovery and identification of Indian nationals' bodies in Iraq

  • 17:48 (IST)

    Watch: Visuals of the mound where bodies of Indians may have been found

  • 17:45 (IST)

    Captain Amarinder Singh writes to Swaraj, seeks financial aid for kin of deceased

  • 17:39 (IST)

    Congress flays govt for 'misleading' kin of those killed, Surjewala says Swaraj should apologise to each and every family

  • 17:31 (IST)

    Faced with tragedy, family members reveal agents, employers duped people on promise of well-paying jobs

    Nishan Singh was a crane operator and had been working in Dubai since 2011. In 2013 his employer put two options before him that either he should go back home as there was no work in Dubai or he should go and work in Iraq. 

    Given the volatile situation in Iraq, initially, Nishan was hesitant to go but due to the ‘attractive salary’ being offered to him, he left for Mosul. Only once he could send Rs 20,000 back home to his parents but after that it stopped, as he himself failed to get the salary promised to him, which was Rs 40,000. The family of Nishan Singh visited Delhi several times and even met Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj. Except assurances, they got nothing. 

    “My brother told us that his employer never gave him the salary promised that was to him. Whatever he used to get got spent on food. He was in a very deplorable state over there. A person who has no means to earn his livelihood here in Punjab, goes to Dubai and Middle East for a job,” added Sarvan, who finally broke into tears. 

  • 17:27 (IST)

    Aman Kumar's family paid Rs 1 lakh to agent to get him job in Iraq

    Aman Kumar from Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh left for Mosul in 2013. The family paid Rs 1 lakh to an agent from Kharar, Chandigarh. Aman was a high school dropout and used to operate heavy construction vehicles and was getting paid Rs 50,000 a month in Iraq. His brother Raman Kumar told Firstpost that the family is in deep shock but doesn't want to comment further at the moment. 

  • 17:11 (IST)

    In the aftermath of the Mosul tragedy, here’s an infographic on where IS gets its weapons from

  • 17:03 (IST)

    'Nishan Singh wanted to come back home after war broke out'

    Despite being a witness to bomb blasts, constant firings and dead bodies of unknown people lying scattered on the streets of Mosul in northern Iraq, 32-year old Nishan Singh a native of Sangoana village in Punjab couldn’t return to India as his employer insisted him to stay back and work.

    "My elder brother used to call us from Mosul and tell us about the dangerous situation over there. We asked him to come back, but he said that his employer had insisted to continue working for another seven months, so it won’t be possible for him. Since 2014, we failed to hear anything from him and had been waiting for his comeback, which ultimately didn’t happen. Now after waiting for so long we’ve been told about his death," Sarwan Singh (30), younger brother of Nishan Singh told Firstpost.

  • 16:54 (IST)

    'External affairs ministry never said he was dead,' Surjit Mainka's family

    Surjit Mainka's 7-year-old son holds up a photograph of his father, who was one of the 39 Indians killed by Islamic State in Iraq. He was a carpenter and was failing to make ends meet in Chuharwali village in Jalandhar, Punjab. Surjit's brother-in-law Manjeet told Firstpost that an agent had charged nearly Rs 2.5 lakh to fly Surjit to Iraq.

    "When he left for Iraq in 2013, there was peace and during the first nine months of his stay there, everything was fine," said Manjeet. He along with Surjit's wife used to attend meetings with the external affairs ministry in Delhi since June 2014, when they last established contact with him. They were hoping the promises Sushma Swaraj was making all this while meant something. But now after learning about his death they feel betrayed. 

  • 16:45 (IST)

    'We feel cheated by the govt, they kept shifting stance,' says Madan Lal's family

    Madan Lal left for Mosul in 2013 from Qadian, Gurdaspur district in Punjab. His parents work as labourers and they took a loan of Rs 4 lakh to pay an agent from Jalandhar who had promised their son a decent job in Iraq.

    When Madan Lal reached Mosul, he started working as a gate keeper. The family last spoke to him in June 2014. His older brother Deepak told Firstpost that he had been to Delhi thrice since 2014 and alleged that the External Affairs ministry had been misleading him on his brother's whereabouts. In those meetings, he alleged that they repeatedly changed their stance and convinced him that the 20 something boy was fine and was working in a factory. He said his family feels cheated by the government and wants the prime minister to explain why this has happened to young men who left the country in search for better opportunities. He said the family may be inconsolable right now but will fight this battle for justice and demand answers from the people in power. 

  • 16:42 (IST)

    Issue is being politicised, we want DNA reports: Kin of Manjinder Singh

    "We demand from the government to provide us DNA reports. The issue is being politicised. We had been running from pillar to post since last four years and now we're being told via TV that we lost one of our own," Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh told ANI

  • 16:30 (IST)

    Didn't keep anybody in dark, waiting for concrete proof was protocol: Swaraj

    "I didn't keep anybody in dark but there is a difference between a government and an individual. Harjeet Singh (the lone survivor amid the Indians in Mosul) was a person and could have said anything. As a government, officiating his version of events merited some responsibility. We believed in putting in efforts to first ascertain that there is absolutely no scope that our people could be alive, only then we channeled our energies in looking for bodies." Swaraj said. 

  • 16:24 (IST)

    Bodies weren't found in mass graves, recovered during Gen (retd) VK Singh's visit

    "I would like to clarify that our people were not found in any mass grave but the bodies were recovered from under a mound. The first sign was that the bodies were exactly 39 in number, plus strands of long hair and a kada was found. So we started conducting DNA tests. the Martyr's Mission completed their formalities and decided to announce the deaths today, I told the House about it before their press conference," Swaraj said.

  • 16:15 (IST)

    Harjeet Masih was not harassed: Sushma Swaraj

    "It is baseless that Harjit Masih was harassed, he was kept in protective custody. I had said this in Parliament earlier," Swaraj said. 

  • 16:13 (IST)

    Don't know when the 39 Indians were killed: Swaraj

    "We do not know when they were killed, could be six months back or two years back, in any case search for bodies would have begun only after the liberation of Mosul which happened in July," Swaraj said. 

  • 16:10 (IST)

    Those dead hail from 4 states; We will try to bring back bodies as soon as possible: Sushma Swaraj

    Speaking to the press, Sushma Swaraj said that 27 of the people were from Punjab, 4 from Himachal Pradesh, 6 from Bihar and 2 from West Bengal. One person whose DNA has matched 70 percent with the samples is from Bihar. 

    She said that the next logical conclusion would to grant closure to the families by bringing the bodies back. "I have asked the High Commission to fast track the process to bring the bodies back so that the family members can at least hold funeral rituals and grieve their dead," Swaraj said.  

  • 16:00 (IST)

    DNA samples of 38 people have been matched, verification of one victim is under process: Sushma Swaraj

  • 15:59 (IST)

    'Didn't betray anyone, this was tireless effort, not falsehood,' says Sushma Swaraj 

    "I had told the House continuously for three years that until I get proof of their death, I will not close any file. It would have been a sin had we handed over anybody's body claiming it to be those of our people, just for the sake of closing file." 

    "We had been saying that we neither have the evidence of them being alive nor the evidence of them being dead. We maintained this in 2014 and 2017. We did not keep anyone in dark," Swaraj said. She quoted her own statements from the House and said, "this wasn't falsehood, this was a tireless effort."

  • 15:55 (IST)

    Told Parliament first because of House was in Session, kept my word: Swaraj

    "Some kin of the victims have questioned as to why they were not told about the deaths before the parliament. It is parliamentary procedure to first inform the house, so it was my duty," Swaraj said. 

    She also said that she had said on the floor of the Upper House that she would tell the Parliament as soon as she learns about the fate of the missing Indians. 

  • 15:50 (IST)

    We did everything we could to find the missing Indians: Swaraj

    Sushma Swaraj said that the government did all it could to find the missing Indians. "We reached out to every diplomatic channel that could have helped us in getting any clue to the location or the state of the missing Indians," Swaraj said. 

    She also said that the government could not have declared the missing Indians dead in haste. "There are some governments that believe in the concept of 'missing believed to be dead', but we were stern that I won't close their files until and unless I get concrete proofs," Swaraj said. 

  • 15:44 (IST)

    Sushma Swaraj slams Congress for disrupting House proceedings

    "Will we play politics even on people's death?" Swaraj asked. She said that she had spoken to the agitating members and taken their assurance that they will not create noise, even though they refused to vacate the Well. "But today, Congress was leading the protests and Jyotiraditya Scindia was leading the Congress members," she said. 

    She slammed the Congress members for playing "politics over the death of 39 Indians."

  • 15:39 (IST)

    Wanted to inform Parliament on slain Indians: Sushma Swaraj

    "I had called the press before speaking in Parliament because of the current mood of the Houses. But when I spoke to Venkaiah ji he told me that he is sure the members will understand the gravity of the issue. And members in the Rajya Sabha valued that request," Swaraj said. 

  • 15:36 (IST)

    Sushma Swaraj briefs the press

  • 15:31 (IST)

    We tried hard to convince him not to go to Iraq: Manjeet Singh, Davinder Singh's wife

    Davinder Singh (52) left for Mosul to work at the Erbil Steel company in November 2011, a year after his twin sons were born. His wife Manjeet Kaur spoke to Firstpost and said Davinder was the only earning member in the family and she had been desperately waiting to hear back from the external affairs ministry since 15 June 2014, when she had spoken to him the last time.

    The family tried its best to stop him from going to Iraq but he was unemployed and desperate for a job in India. Manjeet said that Davinder's sisters had also came to Jalandhar to convince him to change his mind about moving to Iraq. Manjeet revealed that even in Iraq, her husband wasn't making more than Rs 25,000 a month. Davinder is survived by a wife and three sons.  

  • 15:25 (IST)

    Govt mishandled this issue, why did EAM built false hopes, asks Shashi Tharoor

    Congress leader Shahsi Tharoor, speaking to media persons outside Parliament, said that the government has mishandled a very sensitive issue. "Why did the government still kept saying with such conviction that those people were alive," Tharoor asked. 

  • 15:20 (IST)

    Amarinder Singh 'shattered' over development, AAP asks Sushma Swaraj to resign

    Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he was "shattered at the heart-wrenching news" that 39 Indians, kidnapped by the Islamic State, had been killed in Iraq.

    His Congress colleague Partap Singh Bajwa and Aam Aadmi Party's Kanwar Sandhu also expressed their grief and targeted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for misleading the families of those who had died. Sandhu also asked for the minister's resignation.

  • 15:16 (IST)

    Govt kept saying they were all right: Wife of Gurcharan Singh

  • 15:14 (IST)

    Family members hold government responsible for building false hope

    Parminder Lucky who lost two of his  family members in Iraq says that the pain of losing them is unbearable for his family. "Kawaljit Singh was my brother and Gurdeep Singh(32) was my brother in law. Both went to Iraq for years ago and kept in touch till June 2014. Suddenly they stopped calling home," Parminder said.

    "The Ministry of External Affairs kept telling us that they will return. But suddenly they have said the people are no more," lamented Parminder. 

    Gurdeep Singh is survived by his wife and two daughters, four years and 5 years old. On the other hand Kawaljeet Singh has left behind his wife and a five year old daughter.

  • 14:49 (IST)

    We don't demand anything from the govt, says one of the family members of the deceased

  • 14:48 (IST)

    Ranjit Singh, one of the deceased, had talked about coming back home

    Jaspreet Kaur, sister of Ranjit Singh (one of the deceased), began crying when she talked about her brother.

    She said that the last time she spoke to her brother was on 15 June, 2014. He had talked to her about coming back home at that time.

  • 14:32 (IST)

    Govt didn't give us time: Kin of deceased

    A few months after Malkit Singh was married in February 2014, he left for Iraq for a job.

    But he fell prey to the bad conditions in Iraq. He died after being held by the Islamic State.

    Speaking to Firstpost, Malkit Singh's brother Manjit said that even though they had asked the government for time, no one from the government met any of them.

    He said that the government kept changing its statement. Manjit cannot believe that his brother is no longer in this world. "Until the government presents strong proof, we will not accept this," he said.

    He is also angry with the statement of Harjeet, one of the 40 Indians who escaped. He said that the government also changed its stance on the veracity of Harjeet's statement.

  • 14:25 (IST)

    Shocked to hear that 39 Indians are now confirmed dead: Rahul Gandhi

  • 14:17 (IST)

    Had been pleading with govt to bring him (one of the deceased) back: Kin of deceased

  • 14:12 (IST)

    Opposition members created ruckus that prevented Sushma Swaraj from making a statement in Lok Sabha: Ananth Kumar

  • 14:09 (IST)

    Kawaljit Singh's death came as a shock for the family

    Kawaljit Singh (35), who went to Iraq four years ago, was kidnapped by terrorists just after he reached there.

    His family members were still hoping that he will return one day. Angrej Singh, his nephew, told Firstpost that the news of his death came as a shock for the family. He is survived by his wife and 5-year-old daughter in his home in Gurdaspur, along with his old parents and siblings.

  • 14:05 (IST)

    Two of the deceased were promised salary of Rs 35,000-40,000 per month in Iraq

    Santosh Kumar (29) and Vidhya Bhushan (35) Tiwari left for Mosul from Sahasraon village in Bihar's Siwan district in 2011.

    They were both matriculates and decided to give up studying and look for labour jobs in West Asia.

    Santosh's brother Pappu Kumar shared that the two zeroed in on Iraq together because the opportunity was lucrative and an agent from Uttar Pradesh convinced them that violence had lessened.

    Both the two were also promised around Rs 35,000-40,000 per month.

    Vidhya Bhushan Tiwari's uncle Purshottam Tiwari shared that his nephew had worked in a steel plant in Bokaro. The two were working as pipe-fitters in industrial pockets in Mosul.

    In 2014, the two were held hostage. Pappu Kumar shared that the families met Sushma Swaraj last year and she had told them that 39 Indians had been held hostage. The families had been hoping this year would bring them some relief.

    (In the photo: Santosh Kumar)

  • 13:49 (IST)

    We were always told they were alive: Family member of one of the deceased

  • 13:48 (IST)

    Gurcharan Singh, one of the deceased, went to Iraq to work as a carpenter

    Gurcharan Singh, one of those killed, went to Iraq on 15 June 2013 to work as a carpenter.

    He was 32 years old when he went there. His wife and two children heard from him on 18 June 2013. Since then, they have never heard from him. His daughter is 11 years old and son five years old.

  • 13:35 (IST)

    Govt was giving us false promises: Kin of deceased

    Dimplejeet, sister of Dharminder Kumar (one of the deceased), said the government tried to mislead the families all along.

    Dharminder, a resident of Batala, Gurdaspurm, was among the 39 Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State in Mosul. After Sushma Swaraj informed the Parliament on Tuesday that all 39 Indians are dead, Dimplejeet told Firstpost the family is heart-broken.

    "The government was giving us false promises everytime we met them. Even recently, we were told that nothing happened to Dharminder and he would be home soon. What was the need to lie to us? the government should have been little more sympathetic to us. We wanted him back,” Dimplejeet said.

  • 13:30 (IST)

    Jatinder Singh, one of the victims, had gone to Iraq after passing Class 12th

    Jatinder Singh, son of Balkar Singh of Sialka in Amritsar, had gone to Iraq four years ago to earn his livelihood.

    He had just passed Class 12th when he went to Iraq as a construction worker. Had he been alive, he would have been 23 years old now.

    His cousin told Firspost that a few months after he went to Iraq, his family came to know that he was kidnapped. Since then, his family never heard from him. He has his ailing parents in Amritsar. His brother still works in Dubai.

  • 13:19 (IST)

    Family of one of the victims mourns tragedy

  • 13:16 (IST)

    I have been saying what Sushma Swaraj said for three years: Mosul kidnapping survivor

  • 13:11 (IST)

    List of the deceased identified so far

    Firstpost was able to access a list of 27 deceased who have been identified so far. Of these, 22 were from Punjab, three from Himachal Pradesh and two from Bihar.

    Click here to view the list of the names of 27 deceased identified so far.

  • 13:10 (IST)

    Opposition making issue out of non-issue: VK Singh

    "The efforts were not futile. That's why we were able to find them...Our whole thrust was to get them back," VK Singh, MoS External Affairs, told CNN-News18.

    "If we were not making all efforts, Sushmaji would not have addressed the House. Opposition loves to make an issue out of a non-issue. Everyone needs to get together to express sympathy for the families," Singh further said.

  • 13:06 (IST)

    Sushma Swaraj had said that until there is strong proof, she will not inform the House: VK Singh

    "There was hope, but then seeing the situation there, chances of them being alive seemed slim. Legal procedures are underway there and might take 8-10 days. We are waiting for them to complete," ANI further quoted Singh as saying.

    On the Opposition leaders' remarks, Singh said, "It is the job of the Opposition to take things the wrong way. I do not want to say anything about it."

  • 12:55 (IST)

    Family members of those killed should be given financial assistance: Congress

  • 12:54 (IST)

    This should have been announced earlier: Amarinder Singh

    "We had expected this, it should have been announced earlier, it was known since much earlier," ANI quoted Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh as saying.

Latest updates: "We do not know when they were killed, could be six months back or two years back, in any case search for bodies would have begun only after the liberation of Mosul which happened in July," Swaraj said.

Family members of those killed said that no one from the government reached out to them and they heard the news on television. Sushma will brief the press shortly.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he is shocked to hear of the confirmation of deaths of 39 kidnapped Indians in Mosul.

As family members of those killed mourn the tragedy, one of them said that the government had made false promises to the people.

Union minister VK Singh said that the Opposition was making an issue out of a non-issue. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has condoled the demise of the 39 Indians in Mosul and has said that this announcement should have been made earlier.

Thirty-nine Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State in Iraq's Mosul in 2014 are dead, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.

The minister told the Rajya Sabha that their bodies were spotted using deep penetration radar. The bodies were exhumed from mass graves and their identities confirmed by DNA tests, she said.

File image of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

File image of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

"The bodies were sent to Baghdad for DNA testing. The DNA of 38 Indians have been matched," she said.

All of them were construction workers, mostly from Punjab, and were employed by an Iraqi company in Mosul.

They were taken hostage by Islamic State militants when they took control of the second largest city in Iraq in 2014. The workers were trying to leave Mosul when they were held hostage.

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh visited Iraq, days after Mosul was liberated by Iraqi forces from the rule of Islamic State.

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.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Mar 20, 2018 18:25:58 IST

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