Sin to declare missing Indians dead without evidence: Sushma

Won't declare 39 Indians held captive in Iraq dead without proof: Sushma Swaraj tells Lok Sabha

Stating that there is no evidence to show that the 39 Indians abducted in Mosul in Iraq have been killed, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said that she would not commit the sin of declaring them dead.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jafari, who is now on a five-day tour to India, had said his government has no substantial evidence whether the 39 Indians who went missing in Mosul 3 years ago have been killed or are still alive.

"The day I get proof of whereabouts of 39 missing Indians, I will come here if the session is on or inform via Twitter But I reiterate that i won't declare anyone dead without proof", she said.

She added: "Anyone who feels convinced that the missing Indians are dead can go ahead and tell the families of the construction workers". Swaraj gave instances of how Vietnam and the U.S. still continue to search for soldiers who went missing in the Vietnam war and World War II respectively. "I thought we should at least search for them", she said.

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Kharge stated this after Speaker Sumitra Mahajan disallowed any questions on Swaraj's statement.

"There were contradictions in Masih's version".

It was after recent media reports claimed that the Badush jail had been demolished in an ISIS attack that the Opposition's tirade against Swaraj and allegations of her misleading the Parliament began. She said six sources have confirmed to her that they were alive, which includes a President and a foreign minister of two countries.

On Monday, Iraq said it was "not 100 per cent sure" whether the Indians, who were kidnapped by ISIS in Mosul three years ago, are alive or dead.

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Making a statement during the zero hour in the Rajya Sabha, she said the government will continue to pursue the search operations and wanted the approval of the House in this regard.

The external affairs minister also cited an example of when the Congress government declaring a soldier as a martyr in the 1971 war, and after 45 years, it was found that he was in a jail in Pakistan. "Similarly, their families are free to carry out ardas (rituals) but it will be their responsibility if someone comes back", she said.

Relatives in the northern Indian city of Amritsar said they received phone calls from some of the workers five days after Mosul was captured saying that they were in trouble and needed help.

The external affairs minister said she had never misled Parliament or the families of the abducted Indians. "What benefit my government gets by misleading the people on the issue", she added.

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