Bodies of 39 Indian labourers killed in Iraq to be brought back by next week, says Sushma Swaraj to grieving families

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today assured the families of 39 Indians killed in Iraq that the bodies would be brought to India by next week, a relative of one of the deceased said.

Published: 26th March 2018 09:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2018 09:14 PM   |  A+A-

The family members of 39 Indians who were killed in Iraq's Mosul incident arrive in Delhi for a meeting with the Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Monday. | PTI

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today assured the families of 39 Indians killed in Iraq that the bodies would be brought to India by next week, a relative of one of the deceased said.

"We were assured all kind of assistance, including the possibility of a government job to the next of kin," Davinder Singh, younger brother of Gobinder Singh, who was among those killed in Iraq, told PTI over phone after the families of those killed met Swaraj in New Delhi.

To our demand of bringing back the mortal remains of the 39 killed as soon as possible, the minister "assured us of all possible steps", he said.

"We were assured by the minister that the mortal remains will be brought back by next week," Kumar said.

The meeting with Swaraj lasted for about 45 minute, he said.

The family of the deceased sought financial help as their bread earners are dead and also government jobs for the next of kin, Kumar said.

"The minister told us that she would meet the CMs of the four states from where the Indians belonged to take a decision on possibility of providing a government job to the next of kin," he said.

Earlier in the day, the family members of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq met Punjab Congress chief and party MP Sunil Kumar Jakhar in New Delhi who assured "all possible assistance" to them.

Swaraj had told Parliament last week that all the 39 Indians, abducted by the ISIS in Iraq in 2014, had been killed and their bodies recovered.

As many as 40 Indians were abducted by the ISIS terror group from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj had said in Rajya Sabha.

The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed, she had said.

Search operations led to a mound in Badoosh where locals said some bodies were buried by the ISIS.

Deep penetration radars were used to establish that the mound indeed was a mass grave, she had said, adding the Indian authorities requested their Iraqi counterpart to exhume the bodies.

Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features such as long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs.

The bodies were then sent to Baghdad for DNA testing.

DNA testing by Martyrs Foundation established the identity of 38 Indians while there has been 70 per cent matching of the DNA for the 39th person, she had said.

Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will be flying to Iraq to bring back the bodies on a special flight, Swaraj had said.

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