Re­mains of In­di­ans killed by Daesh in Iraq to ar­rive home to­day

Arab News - - INTERNATIONAL -

The re­mains of 38 In­dian con­struc­tion work­ers cap­tured and killed by Daesh in north­ern Iraq were handed over to In­dian au­thor­i­ties in Bagh­dad and were flown home later Sun­day.

In­dian Am­bas­sador Pradeep Singh Ra­jpuro­hit said the bod­ies had been taken to Bagh­dad In­ter­na­tional Air­port and would be flown back on a mil­i­tary flight, ar­riv­ing in India on Mon­day.

India’s Min­is­ter of State for Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Vi­jay Ku­mar Singh saluted the re­mains at the air­port as work­ers loaded the cas­kets on the air­craft.

Singh con­demned ter­ror­ism and ex­pressed his gov­ern­ment’s stance in fight­ing it.

“We are against ter­ror­ism in all its forms and man­i­fes­ta­tions,” he told re­porters, de­scrib­ing Daesh as “very cruel ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion and our peo­ple have fallen to their bul­lets.”

Daesh ab­ducted and killed the work­ers shortly af­ter seiz­ing the north­ern city of Mo­sul in the sum­mer of 2014. Iraqi au­thor­i­ties dis­cov­ered the re­mains in a mass grave last year af­ter re­tak­ing Mo­sul, and pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied the bod­ies last month.

The mil­i­tants ini­tially ab­ducted 40 work­ers. One man­aged to es­cape, while the pre­sumed re­mains of an­other have yet to be pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied. Au­thor­i­ties are await­ing DNA sam­ples from a first­de­gree rel­a­tive.

The work­ers, most from north­ern India, had been em­ployed by a con­struc­tion com­pany op­er­at­ing near Mo­sul. Around 10,000 In­di­ans lived and worked in Iraq at the time. Daesh may have viewed the work­ers as poly­the­ists de­serv­ing of death be­cause of their Hindu or Sikh faith.

Daesh swept across north­ern and cen­tral Iraq in 2014, even­tu­ally seiz­ing a third of the coun­try. Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coali­tion even­tu­ally drove the mil­i­tants from all the ter­ri­tory un­der their con­trol in a gru­el­ing three-year cam­paign. The mil­i­tants are still car­ry­ing out in­sur­gent-style at­tacks.

India’s Min­is­ter of State for Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Vi­jay Ku­mar Singh con­demned ter­ror­ism and ex­pressed his gov­ern­ment’s stance in fight­ing it. (AP)

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