2 Apr 2018

Indians killed by ISIS in Iraq: Bodies to reach today; top 10 developments

Before leaving for Iraq, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said the mortal remains of only 38 Indians would be brought back to India, since one case remained pending

Bodies of Indians killed by ISIS in Mosul to arrive in India today: The mortal remains of 38 of the 39 Indians abducted and later killed by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq will reach the country by late Monday. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh left for Mosul earlier to bring back the bodies of the deceased Indians. Singh informed that the mortal remains of only 38 Indians would be brought back to the country because one case remained pending. MoS Singh also said that the Centre would hand over the coffins of the deceased to their kin, with evidence -- so that their relatives had no doubts.
Once the mortal remains of the 38 Indians arrive, Singh will travel to Amritsar in Punjab, and Patna in Bihar, to hand them over to the respective families of the victims. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has called on the 'Bharat Bandh' protesters to ensure that the mortal remains of the Iraq victims are allowed to be transported to their native villages without any impediment. Amritsar's Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said that all arrangements to transport the mortal remains of the Mosul victims to their native places in Punjab and Himachal had been made. The families will reach Amritsar airport in the morning as the aircraft expected to return with the mortal remains will land around 1.30 pm.

Some relatives of the Iraq victims have said that the Government of India must provide jobs to the families of the deceased so that they can manage their survival. The families of the deceased have sought financial help as their bread earners are dead and also government jobs for the next of kin.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on March 20 informed Rajya Sabha members of Parliament that the 39 Indian nationals who went missing in Mosul in 2014 had been killed by the terrorist outfit Islamic State. The revelation sparked a row, with the Opposition accusing the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre of being insensitive in not informing the victims' kin first. The government's treatment of the matter was also criticised by the families of the victims. The grieving families had one question to ask the Modi government: Why did you keep us in the dark for so long?

Of the 39 victims, 27 hailed from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, six from Bihar, and two from West Bengal. They were construction workers employed by an Iraqi company in Mosul. The victims were taken hostage when ISIS took control of the second-largest city in Iraq. They were trying to leave Mosul when they were abducted. Their mortal remains were exhumed from a mass grave in Badush, a village northwest of Mosul in Iraq.

The names of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq by ISIS were confirmed by Swaraj. According to the External Affairs Ministry, the deceased Indians hailing from Punjab were Dharminder Kumar, Harish Kumar, Harsimranjeet Singh, Kanwaljit Singh, Malkit Singh, Ranjit Singh, Sonu, Sandeep Kumar, Manjinder Singh, Gurcharan Singh, Balwant Rai, Roop Lal, Devinder Singh, Kulwinder Singh, Jatinder Singh, Nishan Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Gobinder Singh, Pritpal Sharma, Sukhwinder Singh, Jasvir Singh, Parvinder Kumar, Balvir Chand, Surjeet Mainka, Nand Lal, and Rakesh Kumar. Those from Himachal Pradesh were Aman Kumar, Sandeep Singh Rana, Inderjeet, and Hem Raj. While Samar Tikadar and Khokhan Sikder hailed from West Bengal, Santosh Kumar Singh, Bidya Bhushan Tiwari, Adalat Singh, Sunil Kumar Kushwaha, Dharamendra Kumar, and Raju Kumar Yadav were from Bihar. Except for Raju Kumar Yadav, the bodies of all others have been identified through DNA samples.

Here are the top 10 developments regarding the bodies of 38 Indians killed by ISIS in Mosul being brought back from Iraq today:

1) Bodies of Indians killed in Iraq to arrive in India today: The mortal remains of the Indians killed in Iraq by ISIS are due to reach India by late Monday. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh left for Mosul on Sunday on bring back their bodies.

2) Bodies of only 38 Indians killed in Mosul will be brought back to India: Not all of the 39 Indians killed in Mosul will be returning home. Before leaving for Iraq, MoS V K Singh said that the mortal remains of only 38 Indians will be brought back to India, since one case remains pending. "I am going to Mosul to get mortal remains of 38 Indians; we would not get one man's remains as his case is still pending," Singh told news agencies.

3) Families of Iraq victims will be given evidence along with mortal remains: MoS Singh said that the Centre will hand over the coffins containing the remains of the Mosul victims to their kin along with evidence -- so that they have no doubts. Singh is expected to bring back the bodies to India by late Monday. Following which, he will travel to Amritsar, in Punjab, and Patna, in Bihar, to hand over the mortal remains to their respective families. 

Click here for our detailed coverage on the government's announcement of 39 Indians killed in Iraq by ISIS: Iraq tragedy: Congress to move privilege motion against Swaraj; top updates

4) Amarinder Singh calls on protestors to allow bodies of Iraq victims to be transported without impediment: In the wake of the 'Bharat Bandh' protest called by several Dalit organisations, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has appealed to the protesters to ensure that the mortal remains of the Indians, killed by ISIS in Iraq, are allowed to be transported to their native villages without any difficulty. Singh has also directed the state police to provide strict security for the transport of the Iraq victims' remains.

Earlier, Amarinder Singh had spoken to MoS V K Singh to follow up on the issue of bringing back the mortal remains of the Indian hostages killed in ISIS captivity in Iraq. The Punjab chief minister had called up and also written to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue.

Click here for our coverage on Sushma Swaraj's announcement on the killing of 39 Indians by ISIS in Mosul and the political row that ensued: 39 Indians killed in Iraq's Mosul; govt fooled kin, says Congress; updates

5) Amritsar DC says all arrangements to receive bodies of Iraq victims are in place: As MoS V K Singh left for Iraq to bring back the bodies of 38 Indians, including 27 from Punjab, who were killed by ISIS, a senior official said that the authorities in Amritsar were making all the required arrangements to receive the mortal remains expected to arrive by a special aircraft today afternoon.

"All necessary arrangements have been made to transport the mortal remains of Indians killed in Iraq, who hail from different places in Punjab and Himachal, to their native places when the bodies reach tomorrow," Amritsar Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha said on Sunday.

6) Families of Indians killed in Iraq demand government jobs: The families of the Iraq victims expect government assistance in what is a difficult time for them. Gurpinder Kaur, the sister of Majinder Singh, one of the Indians who was killed by ISIS in Mosul, said that the Narendra Modi-led government must provide jobs to the families of the deceased so that they can manage their survival. Speaking to news agencies, Kaur said that the government should also provide employment opportunities in Punjab so that people do not have to go to foreign nations.

"Initially, we were waiting for them but for the past 10 days, we have been waiting for their mortal remains. All we now hope and expect the government to do is give employment to the families of the deceased so that they can manage their survival," she said.

Kaur also called for tough action against unregistered agents who cheat people and send them wrongly to such nations. 

Davinder Singh, younger brother of Gobinder Singh, who was among those killed in Iraq, told news agencies after meeting Swaraj in New Delhi, "We were assured all kind of assistance, including the possibility of a government job to the next of kin." The families of the deceased sought financial help as their bread earners were dead and government jobs for the next of kin. "The minister told us that she would meet the chief ministers of the four states from where the Indians belonged to take a decision on the possibility of providing a government job to the next of kin," he said. 

7) Parliamentary standing committee on external affairs will today discuss the safety and security of Indians working abroad: In the wake of 39 Indian workers being killed in Iraq, a parliamentary panel has called a meeting today to deliberate upon the "safety and security of Indian workers in conflict zones". 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". The meeting was called after the report of the Indian workers' death in Iraq. The members of the panel feel there is a need to develop a legislative framework to ensure the security of Indians working abroad, a source said.

Sources also said that the panel is likely to be briefed by senior officials of the external affairs ministry. Members of the panel are also likely to raise the issue of Indian workers' death in Iraq during the meeting today, the source said. 

8) Punjab govt to provide assistance package to families of Iraq victims: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh last week said that the state government would work out a proper assistance package for the families of those from Punjab among the 39 Indians killed by ISIS in Iraq and till then, they would continue to get a monthly pension. In his reply to the debate on the motion of thanks on the Governor's address to the Assembly, the chief minister said that while the state was waiting for the bodies of those confirmed as dead in Mosul, his government was also working out an adequate assistance package for their families.

He told the House that he had requested the Ministry of External Affairs to announce ex gratia to the families of the Iraq victims and that his government was awaiting their decision.

Read what a concerned Business Standard reader had to say about the Modi government's handling of the Mosul tragedy: Letter to BS: Why did Centre keep families of Mosul victims in the dark?

9) Nitish Kumar has assured all help to families of Indians killed in Iraq: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on March 21 condemned the killing of 39 Indians by ISIS in Iraq, six of whom were from the state. Describing the killings as "dastardly", Kumar said that the entire state stood in solidarity with the families of the six persons killed in Mosul, an official release said.

Further, the chief minister assured that all help would be provided by the state government to the bereaved families, the release said.

10) Himachal CM announced ex gratia for Mosul victims: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on March 21 announced Rs 400,000 ex gratia each to the next of kin of the four people belonging to the state who were abducted by the ISIS in Iraq's Mosul in 2014 and subsequently killed. Expressing condolences, Thakur, who talked to family members on the phone, said that the state government was with them in their time of distress.

Out of the four Himachalis, three belonged to the Kangra district and one was from the Mandi district. Thakur said that the tragedy was not only unfortunate but also an inhumane act of brutality, which should be condemned by one and all. 

Source -Business Standurd

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