In another shocking addition to news about tragedy and loss, the 39 Indians who were abducted in Iraq three years ago have been ascertained dead.
The Minister for External Affairs (MEA), Sushma Swaraj delivered this horrific news to the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the 39 Indians who were kidnapped in Mosul by ISIS in 2014 have been confirmed dead.
— ANI (@ANI) March 20, 2018
The 39 were Indian labourers who were taken hostage by ISIS were primarily from Punjab, and were trying to leave Mosul when they were kidnapped.
The reveal comes in the wake of several mass graves being found in Mosul in July 2017, after it was liberated from the ISIS. Minister of State V K Singh visited Mosul right after.
According to NDTV, Harjit Masih, a labourer from Gurdaspur, who had managed to escape the abductors, had given a statement that the group was gunned down in the desert near Badush on June 15, 2014.
However, Swaraj had stated that it would a sin to proclaim the 39 dead before any concrete proof of their death was found.
The MEA commended Singh for his efforts in pursuing the truth.
“It was a most difficult task to get the proof. Such a barbaric terror organization, there were mass graves. It was a pile of bodies. To track down the bodies of our people and take them to Baghdad to test was a huge task.”
The MEA wanted to ensure the credibility of this news before announcing it to the government and the families of the deceased.
The department had earlier collected DNA samples from the kin of the hostages, which was then matched with the remains of bodies found in one of the mass graves. 38 of them matched. One body was a 70 per cent match.
“We wanted to give the families closure only after getting solid proof,” Ms. Swaraj said.
In memory of the 39 Indians who were lost to terror, the Rajya Sabha observed a minute of silence.
While this news is a terrible blow to the hope that was still alive in their families’ hearts, at least now, they have closure.