NEW DELHI: V K Singh, junior foreign minister, who left for Iraq on Sunday, will bring back remains of only 38 Indian workers killed by the Islamic State. The remains of the 39th worker are still being identified by matching DNA and that is still work in progress, officials said.
“I am going to Mosul to get the mortal remains of 38 Indians, we will not get one man’s remains as his case is still pending,” Singh told news agencies. The last man, Raju Yadav from Bihar, has not yet been conclusively identified even though his family member’s DNA sample was taken almost a fortnight ago.
Singh said he would hand over the remains with identifying documents to the families, to eliminate doubts. After about four years, the remains are only identifiable through DNA matching. Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had said in Parliament that they had about 98% match for remains of 38 workers. The minister is expected to bring back the remains by late Monday, following which he will travel to Amritsar, Kolkata and Patna to hand them over to their respective families.
On March 20, Swaraj informed Rajya Sabha that 39 Indian nationals, who went missing in Mosul in 2014, were killed by the IS. There were 40 of them, but one escaped by pretending he was Bangladeshi. The others were killed. The government had refused to declare them dead until it had proof. Over the past few years, Swaraj said they had tapped several sources in different countries to get information.
After July 2017, when Mosul was liberated from the IS, the search was intensified, and ultimately, the remains were traced to a mound near the Iraqi town of Badoush.Most of the dead are from Punjab, the others from Bihar and West Bengal.