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Sushma Swaraj, on 20 March, had informed the Rajya Sabha that the deaths of the 39 Indians were confirmed.

The Ministry of External Affairs spent Rs 87 lakh to find the dead bodies of the 39 Indians who were killed in Mosul by the terrorist organisation ISIS in 2014.

In an RTI reply to this correspondent, the Embassy of India in Baghdad, said that of the total Rs 8,734,534 that was spent on finding the remains of the 39 Indians, an amount of Rs 2,589,034 was spent on the visits of the Minister of State for External Affairs Gen (Dr) V.K. Singh and other officials to Iraq during the search operations.

An amount of Rs 6,145,500 was spent on digging, excavation, packing, local transportation, special aircraft handling, refuelling and on the legal documentation that was required to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 individuals. “These are the expenses for which MEA has received bills as on date of this reply. Bills from the Indian Air Force for transportation of mortal remains, which was carried out by special aircrafts from Iraq to Amritsar and then to Kolkata and Patna, are awaited”, the RTI reply said.

According to the reply, it was on 19 March that the Indian embassy in Baghdad received communication from the Forensics Department, Iraq that a total of 38 DNA samples of the human remains have matched with the DNAs of the blood samples that were provided by the Indian side.

It was after receiving this confirmation that External Affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, on 20 March, informed the Rajya Sabha that the deaths of the 39 Indians have been confirmed. The DNA match of one individual is still being done. V.K. Singh had first visited Iraq on 10 July, once Mosul was “liberated” by the Iraqi government on 9 July 2017.

The abducted workers, mostly from northern India, had been employed by a construction company near Mosul when the ISIS terrorists kidnapped them in June 2014. 

Government of India, till 20 March this year, took the stand that they would not declare the missing persons as dead until they had concrete evidence which proved that the abducted Indians were not alive any more.

According to media reports from Iraq, forensic reports confirmed that the 39 Indians were shot on the back of their head in consonance with the mass execution style that was carried out by ISIS when it started taking over Iraq and Syria.

The forensic experts could not confirm the exact time when these Indian nationals had been executed. But since the remains were just skeletons, and no bones, muscle or tissue were intact, they believe that all of them died at least over a year ago.