NEW DELHI: It may take up to 10 days to bring back the bodies of all 39 Indians killed in Iraq as there will be legal processes involved, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said today.
His comments came soon after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament that the 39 Indians abducted by Islamic State terror outfit in Mosul in Iraq were dead and their bodies have been recovered.
"There will be legal processes. We are waiting for information from there (Iraq). It may take 8-10 days (to bring back the bodies)," Singh told reporters outside Parliament.
Singh, who had visited Iraq several times to find out the details of the Indians abducted in 2014, also took a pot shot at opposition parties for targeting Swaraj on the issue.
"The external affairs minister had said that they (the Indians) will not be declared dead without proof and she kept her words. Opposition takes things in a different way. You have seen it in Lok Sabha," he said.
Singh said the government tried everything possible to verify the details relating to the Indians.
"Sushmaji had made a statement in Parliament that the day the government gets concrete proof of their death or being alive, the Parliament will be informed," said Singh.
When asked whether he felt there was any possibility of the Indians being alive, Singh said "life is full of hope".
"We knocked every door thinking some of them may have escaped. Maybe they have gone somewhere. Considering the war-like situation there, the possibility of their being alive was less," he said.
While it was not immediately known when the Indians were killed, their bodies were recovered from Badosh - a village in the northwest of Mosul, and their identities were established through DNA testing, Swaraj said making a suo-motu statement in the Rajya Sabha.
The mortal remains, which were exhumed from a mass grave in Badosh, will be brought back to India on a special plane and handed over to their relatives, she said.