Harjeet Masih had changed name, taken Bangladeshi visa: Sushma

21 March, 2018, 03:26 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Parliament Session Highlights: Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha Adjourned For The Day

Masih, who hails from Gurdaspur, had managed to escape by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh.

Singh, who had visited Iraq several times to find out the details of the Indians abducted in 2014, also took a pot shot at opposition parties for targeting Swaraj on the issue.

PM Modi took to Twitter to express grieve over the tragic death and said every citizen of India grieves with kin of people who lost their lives in Iraq.

She confirmed the deaths while speaking in the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) on Tuesday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared "total victory" over ISIL in July last year after almost three years of war backed by the US-led coalition.

By then, several family members had wanted to know why the minister had repeatedly assured them that the missing Indians were alive.

Opposition leaders and families of the men said the government had kept them in the dark.

Pappu Singh, brother of Santosh from Bihar, who went to Iraq in 2011, confirmed to Firstpost that he, his sister and mother gave the samples at district magistrate office in Bihar's Siwan. Swaraj said that after the Daesh was overthrown, Singh, her deputy and Minister of State for External Affairs, visited Iraq in search of the missing Indians. She said that General VK Singh will go to Iraq to bring back mortal remains which were kept in Baghdad. She said that they could proceed only after the liberation of Mosul in July 2017.

Harjit Masih, the only Indian survivor, has long said that the rest of the group had been killed.

In her suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj said that she would "not declare anyone dead without substantive proof". If your sources have been saying they were alive and now suddenly what happened. "With full proof I can say these 39 are dead. Till late in the evening, none of the officials from either the centre or the West Bengal government has approached us", Abhishek Hira, cousin of Khokhon Sikdar, said.

"Swaraj had said when the Iraqi prime minister comes to India, the government will confirm it from him, but didn't do anything", he added. "What was the point of assuring us all these years?" she asked.

Swaraj had categorically denied any truth in Masih's statement.

In fact, Harjeet courted controversy in 2015 - when months after government had asserted that efforts were still on to find whether missing Indians - mostly construction workers - he said all those abducted have been killed.



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