Minister for State for External Affairs, V K Singh has returned with the mortal remains of 39 Indians killed by the Islamic State in Iraq. The aircraft carrying the mortal remains has landed in Amritsar.
The minister flew in a C-17 plane-the largest cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force. After Amritsar, Singh would travel to Patna and Kolkata to personally hand over the mortal remains to the families.
Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj had told Parliament last month that all the 39 Indians, abducted by the ISIS in Iraq in 2014, had been killed and their bodies recovered.
As many as 40 Indians were abducted by the ISIS terror group from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj had said in Rajya Sabha.
The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed, she had said.
Search operations led to a mound in Badoosh where locals said some bodies were buried by the ISIS. Deep penetration radars were used to establish that the mound indeed was a mass grave, she had said, adding the Indian authorities requested their Iraqi counterpart to exhume the bodies.
Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features such as long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs. The bodies were then sent to Baghdad for DNA testing.
DNA testing by Martyrs Foundation established the identity of 38 Indians while there has been 70 per cent matching of the DNA for the 39th person, she had said.