Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj Tuesday, March 20, told the Rajya Sabha that all the 39 Indians, who have been missing in Iraq since 2014, have been killed by the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Since then, a lot of details have been trickling in about the missing Indians and how they were killed. The revelation also kicked up a row and Swaraj and the BJP government have faced a lot of criticism on the issue. The opposition has accused the government of misleading the kin of the 39 people and hiding facts from them for almost four years.
PM Narendra Modi has also expressed condolences and said that the government is committed towards the safety of the citizens.
Every Indian grieves with those who lost their loved ones in Mosul. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families and pay our respects to the Indians killed in Mosul.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 20, 2018
The MEA and particularly my colleagues @SushmaSwaraj Ji and @Gen_VKSingh Ji left no stone unturned in trying to trace and safely bring back those we lost in Mosul.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 20, 2018
Our Government remains fully committed towards ensuring the safety of our sisters and brothers overseas.
Here are 10 quick updates on everything that has happened since Swaraj's revelation
- It was earlier said that the bodies would be brought back to India after formalities were completed and that the kin could receive the mortal remains at the Amritsar airport Wednesday, March 22. However, the foreign ministry said that the bodies were not due to arrive Wednesday, which has now added to the worries of the kin.
- "A police officer came to our house and informed us that the bodies shall be arriving today, he accompanied us to the airport," NDTV quoted one of the relatives as saying.
"We are extremely poor people; we have no choice but to go to such dangerous places to earn a living," added another.
- The kin also said that they were not informed of the killings and came to know about it from the media.
- Haryana MLA Randeep Singh Surjewala said that Swaraj should apologise to the kin of the 39 killed for keeping them in the dark for so long.
- Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Swaraj seeking financial aid for the families.
- It has also been said that the Intel knew of the deaths since 2014, but the government did not make these details public. In December 2014, an intelligence input suggested that the missing Indians may not have survived," Firstpost quoted its sources as saying.
- However, Swaraj reiterated that the government did not want to declare them dead without concrete evidence to back their statement.
- "The government did its job properly. Initially, there was no reason for us to believe that Islamic State could kill Indians the way they were targeting Yazidi and Christians, because India has not been in direct confrontation with them," former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal told Firstpost.
- Forty Indians were kidnapped on June 11, but Harjit Masih, one of the captives had managed to flee. He then repeatedly said the 39 others had been shot dead and he survived as he posed as a Muslim from Bangladesh.
- Masih said that the men were taken outside, forced to kneel and shot. "They were killed in front of my eyes."