External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday that there is no evidence to prove that 39 Indians missing in Iraq are dead, media reported.
Sushma Swaraj had, earlier in July, also assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians. Ms Swaraj also said that she had told visiting Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari that she would not accept anything on the issue without "proof", and requested him to continue the search for them.
"On November 24, 2014, I had said that 6 sources have said that the 39 Indians have not been killed", she added. But when she ordered inquiry, there were no corpses or blood stains in Mosul. "In her present role, she has become India's best-loved official, mostly due to her tireless attention to Indians in distress overseas", says the article. Swaraj said that though there were inconsistencies in his account, she immediately instructed the embassy to launch a search along the Mosul to Erbil route where Masih claimed the incident had happened. "But, if anyone of them comes back (alive), then they should also own up the responsibility (of dealing with such a situation)", she said.More news: US, China should handle their own affairs: Mehbooba Mufti on Kashmir issue
This apart, the Minister cited the case of Major Dhan Singh Thapa, Paramveer Chakra victor, who, though declared dead, came out alive from a Chinese jail after a long passage of time. She said six sources have confirmed to her that they were alive, which includes a President and a foreign minister of two countries. Balwant was one of about 39 Indian construction workers kidnapped by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) when it overran Iraq's second largest city of Mosul in 2014.
"There were contradictions in Masih's version". "I have never misled. What benefit my government gets by misleading the people on the issue", she added. "Otherwise there will be bodies, are the bodies in shape to do a DNA test..." she said. "The families are hardly able to sustain themselves despite government help", said Balbir Singh, friend of one of the missing persons. "It is a crime to do this without proper proof".