New Delhi: Union minister VK Singh today said it was “always the easier choice” for the government to have declared them dead but we were “looking for proof of life” in a war-torn country. The government is facing flak from the Opposition over the Centre’s handling of the abduction of 40 Indians by the ISIS in Iraq in 2014.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday informed the parliament that the Indians abducted in Iraq in 2014 were killed by ISIS terrorists and buried in a mass grave, setting off a row with the Opposition, which accused the Centre of being “insensitive” for not informing the victims’ families first.
Taking to Twitter, Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs said, We are sorry that we lost them. But we do not regret trying”.
However, opposition parties, including the Congress and CPI(M), slammed the central government over the delay in announcing the death of the Indians which gave “false hope” to their families that they were alive.
As many as 40 Indians were abducted by terrorist organisation ISIS in June 2014 from Mosul in Iraq, but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha.
“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.
While it was not immediately known exactly when these 39 Indians were killed, their bodies were recovered from Badush – a village northwest of Mosul, and their identities established through DNA testing, she said.
Blaming the government, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said, giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack of transparency on part of the government”.