United States condoles death of 39 Indians in Iraq

Carla Harmon
March 21, 2018

After Mr Singh went missing in 2014, his son, now seven, often asked his mother about his father. We requested that the bodies be brought out exhumed.

She said the 39th person whose DNA matched only 70 per cent had lost his parents and matching was done with his other family members. The 39th Indian, who is yet to be officially declared dead, belongs to Bihar.

The first stop on the way back would be Amritsar where 27 bodies of those from Punjab and four from Himachal Pradesh would be handed over to the relatives.

But the fact is the government on several occasions asserted that all 39 Indians were alive and safe although The New Indian Express had in mid-June 2014 itself broken the story of their murder.

"I raised this issue many a times in Rajya Sabha that why is the Government playing with emotions of families by giving them false hopes".

"We stand with the people of India in condemning these murders", the spokesperson said. They were taken hostage when the Islamic State took control of the second largest city in Iraq.

Forty Indians were captured by the militants, though one man managed to escape.

The 39 persons, most of whom hailed from Punjab, were working on projects near Mosul when they were kidnapped during their evacuation. He had earlier falsely claimed that he was shot in the leg and pretended to be dead. Ms Swaraj told Parliament that Mr Masih had lied about the events.

Sushma told MPs past year that she had no evidence to think that the 39 workers who were kidnapped by Daesh were dead. When an eyewitness came forward said that the ISIS have killed the Indians, they rejected it too.

Inquiries from a caterer revealed that the ISIS caught them when they were coming back after meals.

"Tajinder spoke to us once on the phone after he was kidnapped", said Tevinder Singh, whose nephew Tajinder Singh was among those killed.

"She told me you have been a Minister before and know how the government functions".

Dozens of mass graves have been discovered in territory once held by the Islamic State group, though Iraq's government has only been able to examine a handful of them. She said deep penetration radars helped find 39 bodies buried under the mound. The first sample to be matched was that of one Sandeep Kumar who was among the missing 39. A resident of Mehta village, she said her brother Manjinder Singh had gone to Iraq for employment. She said it was irrelevant as the bodies could have been recovered only after Mosul was freed from the ISIS.

Iraq declared victory over ISIS in Mosul in July a year ago.

"One day, I got a telephone call from my brother from Iraq, informing he was stuck and it seemed hard to come out of the unpredictable circumstances due to terrorist activities", she said. "I had been saying that all 39 Indians had been killed (by Daesh). The Government of India then sent special flights to pick up Indian nationals from Erbil", he said. Sushma said she dismissed his claims "as he was not willing to tell me how he escaped". "And when we will, with a heavy heart, give the mortal remains to their kin, it will be a kind of closure".

On Tuesday, she told the Rajya Sabha that DNA evidence was now available on 38 of them. I thought the same would happen in Lok Sabha. However, the Congress led the disruptions under Jyotiraditya Scindiaji. "The Congress's behaviour today has crossed all limits of low-level politics". "It was the media which has reported his death", said a family member.

A photograph of Harjit Masih (below), the lone survivor, at his home in Gurdaspur. "Masih was kept in protective custody".

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