April 20, 2018

Mortal remains of youths from Himachal killed in Iraq consigned to flames

06 April 2018, 03:30 | Marta Robbins

VK Singh to Visit Iraq Tomorrow to Bring Back the Mortal Remains of 39 Indians

Building in Mosul decimated by bombing March 2018

A special plane carrying the coffins of 38 Indian workers who were killed by "Islamic State" (IS) militants in Iraq four years ago arrived in the northern Indian city of Amritsar on Monday.

To a question on jobs being demanded by the kin of the victims, the minister said the union external affairs minister had already told them to provide detailed information about persons who were eligible for jobs.

He denied that Harjit Masih was among those 40 persons who were kidnapped four years back by IS.

When asked about the demand of providing a job to families of victims, Gen Singh said that the government has asked details from the families.

"I am thankful to the government as owing to their efforts I at least got the remains of my son and could perform his last rites here in his ancestral home", said Ramesh Chand, father of the deceased Aman Kumar from Dharamshala.

Forty Indians, mostly from Punjab, were abducted by Islamic State (IS) terrorists near Mosul in Iraq in June 2014 and one of them managed to escape captivity by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh.

Earlier, families of victims also protested over not being allowed to open the coffins.

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"When tests were conducted (on mortal remains) it was found that some persons were killed by bullets and however, in some cases, it is very hard to say as to how they were killed", said Singh, adding that it was also not possible to ascertain when they were killed.

Manjeet Kaur, wife of Davinder Singh, one of the 39 killed, said she hoped the state government would keep its promise. "None of the 40 workers had a record with the Embassy of India because they went via illegal agents", Singh said. "But it is very hard to say whether it is more than a year or less than a year (ago)", he said.

Mos said that one person's mortal remains are still in Iraq as DNA did not match.

She also said that the Indian worker contacted the Indian embassy regularly about their situation from June 4 to June 17 in 2014 but no measure was taken to rescue them.

Sidhu said the cabinet will hold discussion on the illegal travel agents issue. They may have been killed due to their Sikh or Hindu faith. Authorities are awaiting DNA samples from a close relative.

"Once the embassy had been informed about them, they can not say that they did not have a record". But after four days, they told us their hospital was damaged.

"When the remains came to us, they were just skeletons, only bones. The kind of situation in which Mosul was, I can claim that nobody could have entered that area in such a situation", he said.

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