New Delhi, April 2: The mortal remains of 38 out of 39 Indians, who were killed in Mosul by Islamic State (IS), brought to back India on Monday.
Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh accompanied the mortal remains.
Although 39 Indians lost lives, the mortal remains of 38 were brought back as its DNA test was still pending.
Speaking to Media, Singh said “We are thankful to the authorities in Iraq for the help (they rendered) to locate the victims and exhume the mortal remains. The government of India did its best to know about the missing Indians”.
Punjab’s Cultural Affairs Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was present at the airport to receive the coffins, along with other senior officers.
The victims’ families were told by officials not to open the coffins since the mortal remains had been exhumed from graves and could emit toxic gases.
In the wake of the nationwide protests against the dilution of the SC and ST Prevention of Atrocities Act on Monday, the Punjab government had appealed to the agitators to allow the mortal remains to pass without hindrance.
The Punjab government announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh per family and job for one person per family.
Apart from this, the current pension of Rs 20,000 would continue.
While the coffins of 31 victims — 27 from Punjab and four from Himachal Pradesh — were handed over to respective authorities at the Amritsar airport, seven coffins were shifted to another aircraft to be flown to West Bengal (3) and Bihar (4).
On March 20, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj confirmed in the Parliament that the 39 Indian nationals, who went missing in Mosul in 2014, were killed by the terror outfit Islamic State (IS).
The 39 persons, most of whom belonged to Punjab, were working on projects near Mosul when they got abducted.