UNITED Nations Mourns Brutal Murders of 39 Indian Workers In Iraq

UNITED Nations on Wednesday condemned brutal killings of 39 Indian nationals abducted by ISIS in Iraq after India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the tragic and barbaric incidents in Parliament. A total of 40 workers, mostly from Punjab, were abducted but one of them had succeeded in escaping from the jaws of death. The world body in a resolution said the tragedy is yet another example of the “barbarism and cruelty” of the notorious terror outfit. Swaraj the Indians were abducted in 2014 by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists in Mosul city. Their bodies had been recovered and identified by DNA and other tests. Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh has arrived at Mosul to carry their mortal remains for handing over to their next of kin in India.  “I was deeply saddened by the announcement today that the 39 Indian nationals who were abducted by the now defeated Islamic State elements three years ago in Iraq have now been confirmed dead,” said Jan Kubis, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq. Kubis said the incident was “yet another example of the barbarism and cruelty of this terrorist organisation,” The UN Secretary General’s spokesperson’s office said in a Statement. Kubis extended his deepest sorrow and condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the people and Government of India .UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said “I’m sure” that the UN team on the ground in Baghdad were speaking to the Indian representation in Iraq on the matter. Representative for Iraq would be talking to the Indian leadership regarding the tragic incident. Of the 40 Indians abducted by ISIS in 2014 from Mosul but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh. Of the 39 confirmed killed, 27 persons were from Punjab, 6 from Bihar, four from Himachal Pradesh and two from West Bengal, Swaraj said.  The DNA testing by Martyrs Foundation has established the identity of 38 Indians while there has been 70 per cent matching of the DNA for the 39th person, she added. All of them were declared dead by the government on Tuesday sparking a political row with the Opposition accusing the government of being insensitive for not informing the victims’ families first. Swaraj, however, defended the government saying the families of the deceased were not informed beforehand as Parliament is in session and the Houses needed to be informed first as per the established parliamentary norms. She told the Rajya Sabha that the forensic evidence had established the Indians abducted by the Islamic State in Mosul in June 2014 had been killed, following DNA sample match with the bodies. She could not complete her statement in the Lok Sabha due to ruckus created by parties from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu for the 12th straight day.“I had said that I will not declare anyone dead without substantive proof… today, I have come to fulfil that commitment…I had said that closure will be done with full proof. And when we will, with a heavy heart, give the mortal remains to their kin, it will be a kind of closure,” she said. Swaraj said the mortal remains, which were exhumed from a mass grave in Badush village near Mosul would be brought back to India on a special plane and handed over to their relatives. Sources in the government said it would take 7-10 days for the bodies to arrive.Harjit Masih from Punjab’s Gurdaspur had claimed that he witnessed the massacre of others. The government had rejected his claim. “His was a cock-and-bull story,” Swaraj claimed. “Harjit Masih is an individual, we are a government. Had the government announced deaths based on only Masih’s account, it would have been irresponsible… We are not a ‘missing, believed to be dead’ government,” Swaraj added. Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad sought to remind the government that it had “assured us last year that the Indians were alive”. The Congress demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore for every affected family. “Giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack of transparency on part of the government,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said. Rajya Sabha MPs from Punjab Ambika Soni and Partap Bajwa and Congress media head Randeep Surjewala said at a joint press conference that Swaraj had reiterated safety of these persons on five occasions, citing multiple third party sources.“The way Sushma Swaraj lied” to the country is saddening and heartbreaking. The nation and the families were misled,” Soni and Bajwa said. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was “unpardonable” that families of victims had to learn about their heartbreaking loss from television channels instead of the government.

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