I did not keep anyone in dark over 39 Indians killed in Iraq: Sushma

Vastavam Web: Accusing the Congress of indulging in “cheap politics”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said she did not keep anyone in the dark over the killing of 39 Indians in captivity in Iraq or give the families “false hopes”.Defending herself against a barrage of criticism, the minister said she had kept her word that she would declare them dead if she gets conclusive proof.As many as 40 Indians were abducted by the terrorist organisation in 2014 but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj said.

She added that the DNA samples of 38 people had been matched by the Iraqi authorities. In the case of the 39th person, the matching was 70 per cent.The external affairs minister said two heads of states in that region had conveyed to India that the 39 Indians were not killed. She did not take any names.In an indirect dig at the Congress, she said there were governments that would interpret missing persons as “believed to be killed”.

Referring to criticism from some opposition members and families of the deceased who said they got to know about death of their loved ones through television, Swaraj said she followed parliamentary procedures.India was probably the first country which had managed to bring back all the bodies of its citizens from war-torn Iraq, she said.

The effort the government had put in to get the concrete details of the 39 Indians had never been made in the country, the minister asserted.Swaraj did not give a direct reply to the volley of questions on when the Indians were killed, saying it was irrelevant as the bodies could have been recovered only after Mosul was liberated from the ISIS.”In Rajya Sabha everyone listened to me patiently. I thought the same would happen in Lok Sabha. However, the Congress led the disruptions under Jyotiraditya Scindia ji.

“The Congress indulged in very cheap level of politics and crossed the limit. Will we indulge in politics over death as well,” Swaraj said.The government has rejected the claims of Harjit Masih of Gurdaspur, who had managed to escape the kidnappers, that he had witnessed the massacre of the 39 Indians.Asked whether the government would consider compensation to the families of the victims, Swaraj said she would talk to the concerned state governments.

The minister said she has directed the Indian envoy in Iraq to impress upon the Iraqi authorities to expedite the process to hand over the bodies to India.She said the 39th person whose DNA matched only 70 per cent had lost his parents and matching was done with his other family members.”The Martyr Foundation does not declared anyone as confirmed death if the DNA matching is not 98 per cent,” she said.