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India confirms death of 39 workers abducted by IS in Iraq

India confirms death of 39 workers abducted by IS in Iraq

The families of 39 missing Indians have moved against me in the court. Deep penetration radars were used to establish that the mound indeed was a mass grave, she said, adding the Indian authorities requested their Iraqi counterpart to exhume the bodies.

"We were told this was to ascertain certain identification process, but we were not told that Santosh is dead". A missive was sent to New Delhi, which contacted the state government to arrange DNA samples of family members of 39 missing Indians. "But if all of them were dead in 2014, the government should not have kept us in the dark like this for so long", said a sobbing Jasbir Kaur.

"For four years, the minister had told me that they were alive, I don't know what to believe anymore", said Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh, one of the men killed in Iraq. Taking to Twitter, he tweeted, "The MEA and particularly my colleagues Sushma Swaraj Ji and General V K Singh Ji left no stone unturned in trying to trace and safely bring back those we lost in Mosul". "I was not involved in any falsehood", she said, referring to her statements in Parliament in 2014 and 2017.

The mortal remains of the dead will be brought back to India on a special plane and handed over to their relatives.

The minister told Rajya Sabha - the upper house of parliament - the government had received confirmation on Monday that the DNA of 38 bodies found in a mass grave had been definitively identified as matching the missing Indians. The man named, Harjit Masih, managed to run from the site, and after his return claimed that all the 39 Indians were killed by the ISIS in the Islamic country. Their relatives were made to undergo DNA test past year.

In fact, Harjeet courted controversy in 2015 - when months after government had asserted that efforts were still on to find whether missing Indians - mostly construction workers - he said all those abducted have been killed.

For the distraught families of those killed, all hopes of seeing them alive one day came crashing down. The Opposition slammed the government for giving hopes to the families and delaying announcement of deaths.

"It is very much possible that the claim made by them now is also wrong", he said.

"With full proof I can say these 39 are dead", Swaraj said on Tuesday.

Countering this allegation, Swaraj said she followed parliamentary procedures. Analysis on the last body has not yet been completed, Swaraj said.

"Swaraj had said when the Iraqi prime minister comes to India, the government will confirm it from him, but didn't do anything", he added.

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