Amritsar: A special flight carrying bodies of 38 of 39 Indians killed by the terror group ISIS in Iraq's Mosul has landed in Amritsar, the government said on Monday.
Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh had gone to Mosul on Sunday in an Indian Air Force transport plane to bring the bodies back home.
Of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq, most of them construction workers and labourers, 27 are from Punjab and four are from Bihar.
"We are thankful to the authorities in Iraq for the help to locate the victims and exhume the mortal remains. The government of India did its best to know about the missing Indians," General Singh told reporters.
When VK Singh was asked whether kin of the 38 Indian killed in Mosul will be given jobs by the government, VK Singh said, "This is not a game of football, Both state and Central government are sensitive governments, External Affairs Ministry had asked the families for the details of their members who can be given jobs, we will review."
When asked if there would be any compensation announced for kin of the Indians killed in Iraq today, the Union minister said, "Ye biscuit baantne wala kaam nahi hai, ye admiyon ki zindagi ka sawal hai, a gayi baat samajh mein? Main abhi elaan kahan se karoon? Jeb mein koi pitaara thodi rakha hua hai (Giving compensation is not like distributing biscuits. It is the question of people who have been killed. Hope you get that. How do you expect me to announce now? I am not carrying carrying a chest full of money with me.)"
Meanwhile, Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sindhu said 27 of 39 Indians who were from Punjab will get an ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh per family, job for one person per family will be given and current pension of Rs 20,000 to continue.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, on March 20, had informed the Parliament that all the 39 Indians, who had been missing since June 2014, have been killed by ISIS.
The 27 bodies will be taken to their villages. Punjab Chief Minister and Congress leader Amarinder Singh has asked people in Punjab who are protesting against a Supreme Court order on an SC/ST law to allow the convoys to pass.
The government, meanwhile, had said that it would declare the 39 Indian missing in Iraq’s Mosul since 2014 dead, only after they had received full evidence.
"While we were looking for proof of life in a war-torn country, it was always the easier choice to declare them dead. But we owe it to their families and to the nation to have looked for them," General VK Singh had said.
Giving details of how the government confirmed the deaths, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had revealed how technology and assistance from Iraqi authorities led New Delhi to the bodies of the 39 Indians. The bodies were detected when General Singh scoured the Badush area along with the Indian envoy and an Iraqi official.
They were told by a local about a mound around 25 kilometres from Mosul, where it seemed like many bodies had been buried.
The mound had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features like long hair, Sikh kada (bracelet), non-Iraqi shoes and identity cards. The bodies were then exhumed and sent to Baghdad for DNA testing. "We recovered ID cards, long hair, kada and some non-Iraqi footwear," Swaraj said....