38 Indians Killed in Mosul Cremated, PM Modi Announces Ex-Gratia
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on 20 March, confirmed the death of 39 Indians who were abducted by the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on 20 March, confirmed the death of 39 Indians who were abducted by the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014.(Photo: The Quint)

38 Indians Killed in Mosul Cremated, PM Modi Announces Ex-Gratia


The Centre has announced compensation of Rs 10 lakh to each of the families of the 39 Indians killed by the ISIS in Iraq. The mortal remains of all but one of the 39 were brought to India on 2 April, amidst calls for compensation. Of the 39 who died, 27 were from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, two from West Bengal and six from Bihar.


  • One body has not been brought back to India as DNA testing only provided a 70 percent match, MEA stated
  • On 20 March, the MEA confirmed that the 39 Indians who had been abducted by the ISIS in Mosul in 2014 had been killed
  • The Opposition has accused Swaraj’s of having misled families of the 39 for four years by insisting that they were alive

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Deep Penetration Radar Confirmed Deaths: Sushma Swaraj

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, 20 March, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed that 39 Indians who were kidnapped by the Islamic State in 2014 were dead.

Mortal remains were sent to Baghdad for verification. The DNA samples of the relatives were sent there, and four state governments – Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar – were involved.
Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs

She said that the DNA samples of 38 Indians matched, while that of 39th Indian matched up to 70 percent.

Deep penetration radar confirmed that all Indians were dead after all bodies were exhumed.
Sushma Swaraj

Rajya Sabha Adjourned

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day after ruckus erupted in the Upper House following Sushma Swaraj’s statement confirming the deaths of 39 Indians kidnapped in Iraq.


Watch: Sushma Swaraj's Statement in Parliament


Watch: 39 Indians, ISIS and Harjit Masih’s Great Escape

Harjit Masih, the lone survivor who had managed to flee from ISIS captivity in Iraq in June 2014 following his abduction along with 39 other Indians there, said he had been maintaining for the last three years that all others had been killed.

I had been saying for the last three years that all 39 Indians had been killed (by ISIS militants).
Harjit Masih

"I had spoken the truth," asserted Masih, resident of village Kala Afghana in Gurdaspur district of Punjab.

Harjit Masih, who was among the 40 Indians who were abducted by ISIS from Mosul, Iraq in 2014 returned with a horrific story. Watch The Quint’s documentary on the man and his great escape.


VK Singh to Bring Back Mortal Remains

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh will travel to Iraq onboard a special aircraft to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 Indians killed in Mosul.

"Govt Giving High Hopes Was Not Right": Shashi Tharoor

Reacting to Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj’s statement confirming the deaths of 39 Indians in Iraq, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor accused the government of giving the families “high hopes."

This is saddening for every Indian, rest I would ask why was this information delayed by the government, they should tell how it happened, when they died. Also, the way government gave high hopes to the families was not right.
Shashi Tharoor, Congress leader

Sushma Seeks Permission to Make Statement in LS

The Opposition raised loud slogans as Sushma Swaraj sought permission from Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to deliver her statement on the death of 39 Indians in Mosul.

"It is something sad that I want to tell the House and it cannot be done in this ruckus," said Swaraj.

Do Not Be So Insensitive: Sumitra Mahajan

“This is not proper, do not be so insensitive, please do not indulge in such politics,” said Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on the Opposition raising slogans when the external affairs minister sought time to deliver her statement on the death of 39 Indians in Iraq.

The country has never seen such a sorry state, this is not proper. You are insensitive for your own people.
Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker, Lok Sabha

Heart-Wrenching News: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh expressed his condolences to the families of the 39 Indians who were killed in Iraq. He said that this was expected and it should have been announced earlier.

Job Of the Opposition to Take Everything Wrong: VK Singh

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said that the government did not want to declare the 39 people dead until there was “strong proof."

Everything takes time, Sushmaji had stated she will not declare them dead until there is strong proof. She kept her promise and no one was misled. It is the job of the Opposition to take everything in the wrong way.
VK Singh, MoS, Ministry of External Affairs

"Don't Know What to Believe Anymore": Sister of Indian Killed in Iraq

Gurpinder Kaur, sister of Manjinder Singh who was among 39 Indians killed in Iraq said that her family was not informed earlier and heard the statement made in the Parliament to know the news.

For past 4 yrs External Affairs Minister was telling me that they were alive. I don’t know what to believe anymore. I am waiting to speak with her as no information was given to us. We heard her statement she made in Parliament.
Gurpinder Kaur

Rahul Gandhi Condoles Death of 39 Indians

EAM Sushma Swaraj Slams Congress, Reveals Details of 39 Indians Killed in Iraq's Mosul

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the Congress was indulging in "cheap politics" by disrupting proceedings in the Lok Sabha when she was to make a statement on the deaths of 39 Indians in Iraq.

She said no government can declare anyone dead without proof and her government does not believe in the theory of "missing, believed to be killed".

In Rajya Sabha everyone listened to me very patiently and in peace. Everyone paid tribute, I thought same would happen in Lok Sabha. But unlike the past few days of ruckus, today Congress led the protests under Jyotiraditya Scindia ji. It is very unfortunate.
EAM Sushma Swaraj

She said that her ministry made the best efforts to locate and find evidence regarding the 39 missing Indians.

“I personally talked to the foreign ministers of the respective countries, I went to them and asked them if they have any evidence and they provide us the same.”

I did not give false hope to anyone, but waited for proof. This government will not declare missing citizens as dead and handover any body without proof. That would be a sin.
EAM Sushma Swaraj

The minister said that DNA samples from relatives in four Indian states were collected while searching mass graves in Iraq. The search in mass graves however did not provide any conclusive results. The bodies of the 39 Indians were found buried under a mound outside Badush village, 450 km away from Baghdad.

When they were killed is not known, could be six months back or two years back, in any case search for bodies would have begun only after the liberation of Mosul.
EAM Sushma Swaraj

Swaraj clarified out of the deceased, 27 people were from Punjab, 6 from Bihar, 4 from Himachal Pradesh and 2 from West Bengal. The identity of one of them is yet to be verified.

Watch: Veteran Journalist Praveen Swami Talks to the Quint

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh Writes to Sushma Swaraj

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh wrote to EAM Sushma Swaraj, expressing shock on the deaths of 39 Indians in Iraq and requesting for financial assistance for families of the kin.

Unpardonable That Kin Learnt About Deaths via TV: Omar Abdullah

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was "unpardonable" that the families of 39 Indians, killed in captivity in Iraq, had to learn about the heartbreaking loss from television channels instead of a receiving a personal confirmation.

Abdullah said senior officials in the Ministry of External Affairs should have personally informed each of the 39 families before the news was made public.

"Senior people in MEA, if not the minister & her junior minister themselves, should have spoken to each of the 39 families before the news of the deaths was made public," he tweeted.

Modi Govt Has Passed All Limits of Heartlessness: Randeep Surjewala

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala accused EAM Sushma Swaraj of misleading the Parliament and the families of the victims seven times.

Today, Martyrs Foundation announced they will hold a media briefing on the issue, so as a result the government panicked and announced before them.
Randeep Surjewala, Congress spokesperson

He said, “Congress has expressed grief at death of 39 Indians in Iraq. Modi government has passed all limits of heartlessness, when whole world was saying they have died, the Indian government assured the country and the kin seven times that they are alive.”

Left No Stone Unturned to Trace the Bodies: PM Modi Tweets

Bodies Will Be Repatriated to India Soon: Indian Ambassador to Iraq

The remains of 38 Indian construction workers killed in Iraq will be repatriated to India soon, the Indian Ambassador to Iraq Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit said on Tuesday. The identification of the 39th body is still under process.

He said, “It is indeed a moment of deep grief and sadness for us to learn that a group of Indian workers in Mosul have become victims of the menace of terrorism. We express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families in India.”

He added the remains would be repatriated "in a couple of weeks or so."

Punjab Assembly Pays Tribute to Indians Killed in Iraq

Legislators in Punjab Assembly today paid a tribute to the 39 Indians killed by the Islamic State in Iraq.

On the opening day of the Budget Session, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that the names of the 39 Indians, abducted by ISIS in 2014, should be included for obituary references.

27 of the 39 people who died in Iraq were from Punjab.

HP Chief Minister Expresses Shock Over Death of 39 Indians, Including 4 Himachalis

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed shock over the death of 39 Indians by ISIS terrorists in Iraq and said four of the victims were from the state.

Thakur said the Union government had informed that the bodies of all the deceased would be brought back via a plane to Amritsar and then taken to other states. The Centre will also provide help to the bereaved families, Thakur said.

Those from the state killed in Iraq have been identified as Aman Kumar, Inderjit and Sandeep Kumar from Kangra district and Hem Raj from Mandi district.

The state unit of the Congress expressed shock and grief over the killings and said it was strange that the Union government had no information about the missing Indians.

BJP MP Anurag Thakur condemned the dastardly act and said the government did its best to locate the missing Indians.

The UN Condoles Death of 39 Indians in Iraq

The United Nations on Monday condoled the death of 39 Indian nationals abducted by ISIS in Iraq, saying the tragedy is yet another example of the "barbarism and cruelty" of the notorious terror outfit.

"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.

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.


'Why Centre Kept us in The Dark?' Ask Grieving Families

Family members of the 39 Indians massacred years ago in Iraq by ISIS have one question: why did the Centre keep them in the dark all this while?

Several relatives of the slain workers said they were not officially informed about their loved ones by any government authority, even as some demanded that the DNA reports be shared with them and the test conducted once again in India, PTI reported.

What do we say now? asked a dejected Sarwan from Amritsar whose 31-year-old brother Nishan was among those killed.

The government kept us in the dark all these years.
Sarwan told PTI

Six Statements Made by Centre Assuring 'They Are Alive, Safe'

Assuring that the 39 missing Indians in Iraq are safe and alive, the Modi government made six statements since 2014, The Indian Express pointed out in a report. The English daily quoted a source familiar with the development saying, "the default position was that since there was no evidence to back claims of their death, they may still be alive."

Here are the six statements that IE pointed out:

  • 23 June 2014: Syed Akbaruddin, then MEA official spokesperson, said: “We have again received a reconfirmation that Indian nationals in captivity remain unharmed.”
  • 25 July 2014: The External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha said: “I could say that we do not have direct contact with them, but I could say on the basis of some other sources that they are safe and alive.”
  • 4 August 2014: Sushma Swaraj told Parliament: “Not one source, but many sources have told me, and I can say responsibly that they are alive and are doing well.”
  • 6 August 2014: Sushma Swaraj said in the Rajya Sabha: “I would like to say here with responsibility that they are alive and safe. We should not believe rumours.”
  • 22 February 2015: Swaraj after meeting the family members of the missing Indians: "..till date we have no evidence if they are alive or dead. But due to the efforts we are putting in, we have been informed by many sources that they are still alive. And we believe that the information is true, so we are still searching for them.”
  • 22 July 2015: MoS for External Affairs, VK Singh said in the Lok Sabha: “The Government of India is in close and regular contact with relevant Iraqi government authorities to obtain information on their whereabouts and safety. As per latest information from multiple third party sources, they are all safe.”

Bodies Not Coming Back to India Today: MEA Sources to ANI

None of the bodies of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq will be sent back to India on 21 March, reported ANI quoting sources in MEA. Ministry officials said more information will be provided as and when the details are available.

Nitish Kumar Assures Help to Affected Families

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar promised help to the grieving families of the 39 Indians killed in Mosul. 
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar promised help to the grieving families of the 39 Indians killed in Mosul. 
(Photo: Reuters)

Calling the killings of the 39 Indians in Mosul as "dastardly", Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that the entire state of Bihar stood in solidarity with the families of the six Indians hailing from there, Business Standard, quoting an official release, reports.

Kumar also said that the state government would do whatever they could to help the bereaved families.

Victims Had Gunshot Wounds on Heads, Dead For Over a Year

According to Iraq’s Department of Forensic Medicine, which under its Ministry of Health had conducted the DNA tests on the 39 victims, said that most of the bodies had “gunshot wounds over their heads”, reports Hindustan Times.

The report also mentions the confirmation of the Forensics Department, which said that the victims had died over a year ago.

When the remains came to us, they were just skeletons, only bones. They had no muscle or tissue. Forensically, I can confirm that they definitely died over a year ago. 
Dr Zaid Ali Abbas, head of department told Hindustan Times

The report also says that in a release posted on its official website, the MEA said: “We are grateful to the Forensics Department of Ministry of Health of Iraq for their hard work in completing the process of matching the DNAs retrieved from the human remains with the blood samples of the relatives of the deceased Indians brought from India.”


Kin of the 39 Indians Killed Are Meeting Sushma Swaraj

Almost a week after Sushma Swaraj confirmed the death of the 39 Indians abducted in Iraq’s Mosul, their kin are now meeting with the External Affairs Minister.

Kin of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq’s Mosul are meeting with Sushma Swaraj. 
Kin of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq’s Mosul are meeting with Sushma Swaraj. 
(Photo Courtesy: ANI)

VK Singh to Bring Back the Mortal Remains on 1 April

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh is scheduled to visit Iraq on 1 April to bring back the mortal remains of 39 Indians, who were killed by ISIS in Mosul.

VK Singh Leaves for Iraq

Ministry of External Affairs Minister of State VK Singh on Sunday, 1 April left for Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the 38 Indians, who were abducted and killed. The mortal remains of one Indian will not be given as his case is reportedly pending.

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.
VK Singh, MoS, MEA

He had earlier said that he “will return to Amritsar, then Kolkata and then Patna”.


Bodies of 38 Indians Allegedly Killed by IS in Iraq Being Brought Home

The remains of 38 Indian construction workers who were captured and killed by terror group ISIS in northern Iraq were handed over to Indian authorities in Baghdad on Sunday, 1 April, to be flown home.

Indian Ambassador Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit said the bodies had been taken to Baghdad International Airport and would be flown back on a military flight, arriving in India on Monday.

India's Minister of State for External Affairs, VK Singh, saluted the remains at the airport as workers loaded the caskets on the aircraft.

Singh condemned terrorism and expressed his government's stance in fighting it.

"We are against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," he told reporters, describing IS as "very cruel terrorist organization and our people have fallen to their bullets."

Parliamentary Panel to Discuss Safety & Security of Indians Working Abroad

In wake of 39 Indian workers' death in Iraq, a parliamentary panel has called a meeting on 2 April to deliberate upon "safety and security of Indian workers in conflict zones," PTI reported.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on external affairs headed by Congress MP Shashi Tharoor will deliberate upon various issues related to Indian migrant workers.

According to the Lok Sabha secretariat, the agenda of the meeting is "issues relating to migrant workers including appropriate legislative framework and skill development initiatives for prospective emigrants with particular emphasis on safety and security of Indian Workers in conflict zones”.

All Arrangements in Place, Says Amritsar Deputy Commissioner

Authorities in Amritsar are making the required arrangements to receive the bodies expected to arrive by a special aircraft on Monday afternoon, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said.

As per the information we have received, the bodies are expected to reach the international airport at Amritsar at around 1:30 pm on 2 April. 
Sangha told PTI over the phone

The bodies will be brought out from a different exit passage, Sangha added.

Arrangements for ambulances and other vehicles for ferrying the coffins to the native places have been made by the respective district administration with all necessary assistance extended by the authorities in Amritsar, he said.

Special Aircraft Carrying Bodies of 38 Indians Leaves From Baghdad Airport

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh has left for India from Baghdad International Airport and is bringing back the bodies of 38 of the 39 Mosul victims, Indian Express reported. The special military aircraft will first stop at Amritsar and the bodies will be handed over to the relatives. Then Singh will go to Patna, followed by Kolkata.


Family Members of Victims Told Not to Open Coffins: Report

The last rites of the 38 deceased Mosul victims being brought back from Iraq will be performed under supervision of the district administration concerned in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Family members of the victims said doctors and the district administration had advised them not to open the coffins and to conduct the last rites “within 15-20 minutes of bodies reaching their homes,” Indian Express reported.

Navjot Singh Sidhu to Receive Mortal Remains at Amritsar Airport

According to an Indian Express report, Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu has been deputed by the Punjab government to receive the mortal remains at the Amritsar airport. Accompanying Sidhu at the airport will be Haryana Food and Civil Supplies Minister Krishan Kapoor and Deputy Commissioner, Kangra (Himachal Pradesh), Sandeep Kumar, the report added.


Punjab Single-Handedly Working out a Compensation Package

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has said that Punjab government would work out a proper assistance package for the families of the workers killed in Iraq, along with a monthly pension of Rs 20,000 until it is awarded, The Indian Express reported.

Meanwhile, the Union External Affairs Ministry will only play a “facilitator’s role” in awarding compensation, but any such decision on central level will have to be headed by the Home Ministry.


Rest in Peace my Fellow Indians, Tweets VK Singh

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, who is accompanying the bodies of the 38 Indians killed in Mosul, said the burden of some responsibilities were much more and tweeted a video with the hashtag "RestInPeaceMyFellowIndians".


Punjab CM Urged Protesters to Maintain Calm Amid Ongoing Bandh

Mortal remains of the 38 Indians killed in Iraq are set to reach Punjab on Monday, amid the ongoing bandh. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged protesters not to impede or obstruct movement of vehicles carrying remains, Firstpost reported.

Twelve thousand additional security personnel including state police, Rapid Action Force, Central Reserve Police Force have been deployed in different parts of Punjab, the report added.

Aircraft Carrying Bodies of 38 Indians to Land at 1.30 pm

The mortal remains of the 38 Indians are expected to reach the international airport at Amritsar at around 1:30 pm on 2 April. From there the aircraft will go to Patna, followed by Kolkata.

Families Insist on Opening Coffins at the Airport

Families of the 38 victims have asked Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha to allow them to open the coffins at the airport, Indian Express reported.

However, the Commissioner said that families cannot be allowed due to time constraints, citing that every family is allotted 4-7 minutes for departure per coffin at the airport.


Aircraft Carrying Mortal Remains of 38 Indians Lands in Amritsar

A special flight carrying mortal remains of 38 Indians killed in Iraq's Mosul, lands in Amritsar, ANI reported. MoS Ministry of External Affairs VK Singh is onboard.


MoS MEA VK Singh Addresses Media After Bringing Back Mortal Remains

Union Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh addressed the media, along with Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, after bringing back mortal remains of 38 Indians killed in Iraq on 2 April.

"We are thankful to the authorities in Iraq for the help (they rendered) to locate the victims and exhume the mortal remains. The government of India did its best to know about the missing Indians," Singh told the media.

When asked if kins of the 38 Indians would be given jobs, Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh said:

This is not a game of football. Both state and central governments are sensitive. EAM had asked the families for the details of their members who can be given jobs. We will review it.
General VK Singh said 

Navjot Singh Sidhu Announces Compensation for 27 Victims' Families

Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu announced compensation for 27 of 39 Indians killed in Iraq who were from Punjab. “Ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh per family and a job for one person from every victim’s family will be given to the victims’ families.” Sidhu added that the pension the families receive will continue.


Mortal Remains Reach Amritsar

Mortal remains of the 38 Indians killed in Iraq have been brought to Amritsar.


Provide Us With Jobs So That We Can Survive: Bereaved Kin

Speaking to ANI, Manjeet Kaur, whose husband Davinder Kaur was among the 39 Indians killed, said that the government should provide employment to the bereaved kin so that they can survive and educate their children.

We hope that the goverment gives us employment so that we can survive and educate our children. We had faith in the government; they said they’ll get him back, but what has come today are his mortal remains.
Manjeet Kaur

Mortal Remains of Two Arrive in Kolkata

Mortal remains of two among the 38 killed by ISIS in Iraq’s Mosul, have been brought to Kolkata.

Mortal remains of two arrive in Kolkata.
Mortal remains of two arrive in Kolkata.
(Photo: ANI)

VK Singh Arrives in Delhi After Handing Over Bodies in Bihar

VK Singh arrived in Delhi in the wee hours of 3 April after handing over bodies of five of the 38 Indians killed in Iraq to their families in Bihar.

He told reporters that the DNA sample of Raju Yadav has been sent for testing and said that his body will be brought back to India as soon as testing is completed.

Congress Played a Negative Role: VK Singh

After landing in Delhi, General VK Singh criticised Congress for playing a ‘negative role’ during the entire process.

Opposition, particularly Congress, played a negative role. They tried to find fault in everything. It was a very petty act to do politics on matter related to poor people & the nation. Best arrangements for deceased were done in Bihar, but hue & cry was created mostly in Punjab.
General VK Singh to ANI

Punjab Congress MPs Protest in Parliament For Ex-Gratia to Kins

Punjab Congress MPs protested in Parliament demanding financial help for families of those who were killed by ISIS in Iraq's Mosul, ANI reported.

(Photo: ANI)

PM Announces Ex-Gratia of Rs 10 Lakh For Kin

Prime Minister Modi announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh each to families of those killed in Iraq's Mosul, ANI reported.

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