Flight carrying bodies of 38 Indians killed by ISI in Iraq’s Mosul lands in Amritsar, VK Singh is onboard

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Updated: April 2, 2018 3:58:53 PM

A total of 40 Indians were abducted by the terror outfit Islamic State in Iraq in June 2014. After four years, on March 20, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj informed the Rajya Sabha members in the Parliament that the 39 Indian nationals, who went missing, were killed by ISI

Minister of State for External Affairs Vijay Kumar Singh will return to India with the mortal remains of 38 Indians from Iraq on Monday. (Twitter/videograb)

Minister of State for External Affairs Vijay Kumar Singh who departed from Iraq with the mortal remains of 38 Indians, has reached India today. A special flight carrying mortal remains landed at Amritsar International Airport on Monday afternoon around 2:30 pm from Baghdad. The dead bodies were received by the relatives of the deceased with teary eyes. An air of gloom descended as distraught families looked at the caskets when the aircraft carrying the coffins landed at the airport.

While announcing the ex-gratia compensation to the family of 27 Indians who were from Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu said that the compensation of Rs 5 lakh to each family will be given. Besides, a job for one person per family will also be provided, while the current pension of Rs 20,000 will continue, Singh added.

On Sunday, Singh had left for Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of 38 people who were killed in Mosul, Iraq. The 39th body is not being brought back now as the DNA testing had only provided a 70 percent match, The Indian Express reported. The others have an over 95 percent match.

Meanwhile addressing the media, VK Singh commented on whether the kin of the 38 Indians will be given jobs. He said that EAM had asked the families for the details of their members who can be given jobs etc, which they will review later.

A total of 40 Indians were abducted by the terror outfit Islamic State in Iraq in June 2014. After four years, on March 20, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj informed the Rajya Sabha members in the Parliament that the 39 Indian nationals, who went missing, were killed by ISIS.

Out of 40, Harjit Masih, managed to escape by posing as a Bangladeshi Muslim. The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed, Sushma Swaraj informed earlier in last month. Of the 39 who died, 27 hailed from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, while two were from West Bengal and six were from Bihar. These people were working on projects near Mosul when they got kidnapped, reported the Indian Express.

Navjot Singh Sidhu from Punjab will be present at the airport to receive the mortal remains, while Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments have deputed Haryana Food and Civil Supplies minister Krishan Kapoor and Deputy Commissioner, Kangra, and Sandeep Kumar, respectively, to receive the dead bodies.

Watch Video from Baghdad airport:

Families asked not to open coffins

Families of the deceased have been advised not to open the coffins and conduct the last rites immediately. It has been reported that doctors and the district administration have advised the family members of the victims to conduct the last rites within 15-20 minutes of bodies reaching home. The last rites will be performed under the supervision of the district administration concerned in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. However, the kin of the dead have requested the district administration to allow them one last look.

Timeline

June, 2014
• The Ministry of External Affairs confirmed that 40 Indians were abducted in Mosul in northern Iraq.
• A majority of them hailed from Punjab.
• Back then, reports claimed that they were in Islamic State’s custody.
• Sushma Swaraj had assured families of all possible help.

June, 2014
• One person who was part of the group, Harjit Masih, informed Indian authorities from Erbil that other 39 Indians are dead.

March 2015
• Amarinder Singh, the then Congress leader, had claimed that 39 Indians “have been traced alive in Iraq”.
• However, in March that same year, Masih told media that all 39 Indians were killed by IS.

June, 2017
• Family members had said they were told that a group of Indians were in a church in Mosul.

July, 2017
• In July, Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh (retd) had gone to Iraq to ascertain information about the missing men.
• The families said that they were informed that the missing people may be in Badush jail in Iraq.
• On July 24, Iraqi Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim Al-Eshaiker Al-Jafari tells reporters in Delhi that his government does not know whether the men are alive or dead.

March, 2018
• External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj confirmed to the Rajya Sabha members in Parliament that the 39 Indian nationals, who went missing, were killed by ISIS.
• In a statement, Swaraj said Masih posed as Ali from Bangladesh to escape with a group of Bangladeshi men, who were separated from the Indians.

April, 2018
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh to arrive in India with bodies of 38 Indians from Iraq. The families of the victims have been advised to cremate the bodies immediately. The last rites will be conducted in the presence of district authorities, reported The Indian Express.

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