39 Indians killed in Iraq: For over a year, government said they were very much alive

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday denied that the government had ever said the hostages were safe.

Published: 21st March 2018 06:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st March 2018 11:21 AM   |  A+A-

Members of National Human Rights and Crime Control Organization light candles to pay tribute to the 39 Indian workers who were feared killed in Iraq in Amritsar on Tuesday. | PTI

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Facing criticism from the families of the victims that they were misled into believing the abducted Indians were alive, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday denied that the government had ever said the hostages were safe.

“We always said we neither have the evidence of them being alive nor the evidence of them being dead. We did not keep anyone in the dark. We gave no false hopes to anyone,” Swaraj said in Parliament.

ALSO READ: How Iraq recovered bodies of 39 Indians abducted by IS in 2014

TNIE report on June 19, 2014, which first broke the news about the murders.

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.

June 25, 2014: According to a media briefing uploaded on the Ministry of External Affairs website, its spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “I have again told you today that we have further confirmation as of today that they remain in captivity, however, have not been harmed.”June 28, 2014: In another press briefing, Akbaruddin reiterated, “Those (40) Indians remain in captivity. Yet, we have additional information received today that they remain unharmed.”

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