Indian abducted by IS in 2015 killed: Sushma Swaraj

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"If anyone is responsible for not bringing the 39 Indians back safely, it is Sushma Swaraj and the Modi government", Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala told reporters.

One of the workers was able to escape ISIL custody, the minister said. Four governments Punjab, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar were involved.

The minister said after the ISIS was overthrown, her deputy and Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh visited Iraq in search of the missing Indians. One of the 40 workers, Harjit Masih, had earlier managed to escape his captors. But the government rejected it. "His was a cock-and-bull story", Swaraj said.

The 39 Indian construction workers went missing in Mosul, a city of Iraq, in 2014 when it was overrun by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group. When we came to know that the bodies have all been buried inside a mound, we not only used a deep penetration radar (DPR) but we had the bodies exhumed and that is when we found strands of long hair as some of them were from Sikh community.

"Some kin of the victims have questioned as to why they were not told about the deaths before the Parliament", Swaraj said at a press conference in New Delhi. Now, there is proof, she said. The government kept us in the dark all these years.

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Balwinder Kaur from Manochahal village in Tarn Taran district too struggled to hold back her tears.

According to Financial Express, both Iraq and India had maintained that the 39 Indians were alive until October previous year. The party also demanded that PM Narendra Modi and Swaraj apologise to the families, and grant compensation of Rs 1 crore each. "Harjit Masih is just an individual, he could claim 39 others are dead, but we are the Government, we can't say this so easily". "My heart goes out to the families who had been living in hope since their reported abduction by Isis in 2014. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you today", Mr. Gandhi said on Twitter. Punjab CM Amarinder Singh urged Swaraj to provide ex gratia to the bereaved families.

Iraqi authorities have found the bodies of 39 Indian workers who were abducted by militants from the Mosul area three years ago, India's foreign minister said Tuesday.

Masih, however, told The Indian Express that he had told IS militants his name was Ali at another location where he was taken after his escape and after the 39 Indians were shot. "Their dignity was supposed to be protected, but the forces of evil wanted to defame the principles of Islam", said al-Shimari, whose government body documents those killed by IS.