The minister of state for external affairs, general VK Singh (retired) left for Iraq Sunday afternoon to bring back the mortal remains of the 38 Indians killed in Mosul.
On March 20, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had told the Rajya Sabha that all the 39 Indians, who were missing in Iraq since 2014, had been killed by the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The 39 Indians, mostly natives of Punjab, were working on various projects near Mosul when they were kidnapped. She had added that DNA matches have already been made for 38 bodies.
As the DNA of the last body is still being examined, Singh will be getting back the dead bodies of only 38 people.
"I am going to Mosul to get mortal remains of 38 Indians, we won't get one man's remains as his case is pending. We will handover coffins to the family members with evidence so that they have no doubts about it," ANI quoted Singh as saying on Sunday.
He also expressed his condolences for the death of the 39 Indians.
`I am going to Mosul to get mortal remains of 38 Indians, we won't get one man's remains as his case is pending. We will handover coffins to the family members with evidence so that they have no doubts about it. My deepest condolences to the families of the deceased: Gen VK Singh pic.twitter.com/JpqUzGMTO7— ANI (@ANI) April 1, 2018
The minister is expected to return to India with the bodies by late Monday or Tuesday.
"MoS Singh will most probably leave tomorrow (Sunday) for Iraq to bring back mortal remains of these 39 Indians. After coming back, he will first go to Amritsar followed by Patna, Kolkata to hand over bodies to their relatives," a source said Saturday.
According to reports, 40 Indians were taken captives by the ISIS militants in June 2014. While one of them named Harjit Masih managed to escape by posing as a Muslim laborer from Bangladesh, the others were killed.
Swaraj had said that the 39 Indians were taken to Badush and killed. The Iraqi Martyrs Foundation and the Indian Ambassador to Iraq, Pradeep Rajpurohit, had also confirmed the deaths and said that mortal remains of the 39 people had been found at Badush village.
Ever since Swaraj has made the announcement, she has been facing condemnation from the opposition parties in India for giving "false hope" to the families of the victims.
In fact, Congress has also conducted two Twitter polls to get Swaraj branded as a "failure" in her job as the external affairs minister