Published: Thu, July 27, 2017
World News | By Cecilia Wilkerson

No proof that 39 Indians in Iraq are dead: Sushma

No proof that 39 Indians in Iraq are dead: Sushma

The Opposition on Wednesday temporarily prevented Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj from giving a statement on the ongoing Indian hostage crisis in Mosul, Iraq.

Swaraj said the government would continue its efforts to trace the missing Indians, majority construction labourers from Punjab, until it gets evidence of their death, adding that the Iraqi Foreign Minister had assured her of pursuing the matter.

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Swaraj assured that she would infrom the Parliament if the session is on or inform them via Twitter about the missing Indians. To a question by Mr. Bajwa, the External Affairs Minister said that the Iraqi President during his recent visit to India made it clear that his government has no information after the Indians were taken away from Mosul to Badrus prison by ISIS.

Earlier on Monday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said that he was not sure about the fate of 39 missing Indians, who were held captive by Islamic State in Mosul.

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"After listening to the story, I told the Embassy search the whole of Mosul, and around, you will find the 39 bodies somewhere, or blood stains would be there. I will not take this crime on my head", Ms Swaraj said. Nearly 39 people have been missing from India. She further added that Bajwa had asked for an apology from her for misleading the nation, but instead of apologising she was firm on her saying that she will not declare them dead till she gets credible evidence and will continue to search. They were trying to leave the besieged city when they were abducted.

"It is a sin to declare a person dead without concrete evidence. What benefit my government gets by misleading the people on the issue". "Similarly, their families are free to carry out ardas (rituals) but it will be their responsibility if someone comes back", she said.

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The 39 Indians were abducted by the Islamic State in 2014, within three weeks of the swearing-in of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government. She said that even a list of prisoners would help. Post operation, the child's father said, "The heart of my child beats today for Madam Sushma Swaraj".

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