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No proof that missing Indians in Iraq are dead, will continue search: Sushma

New Delhi: There is no concrete evidence that the 39 Indians abducted from Mosul in Iraq have been killed and “I will not commit the sin” of declaring them dead without any evidence, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.

Making a forceful statement in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj said the government will continue its efforts to trace the Indians till it gets evidence that they were dead.

“This file will not close till there is proof that the 39 Indians were dead. I will not commit the sin of declaring them dead without any evidence,” Swaraj said, two days after holding talks with Iraqi foreign minister on the issue.

The external affairs minister said she had never misled Parliament or the families of the abducted Indians.

“I have never misled. I want to ask the Opposition, what benefit will I get by misleading. What benefit my government get by misleading the people on the issue,” she said.

The Iraq Embassy had on Sunday informed India that search operations are underway to locate the 39 missing Indians who were taken as prisoners by ISIS in 2014, further assuring there is a high level coordination between Iraqi and Indian concerned authorities to locate them.

The Government of India has already sent two high-level senior delegations to Iraq to follow up on this matter.

However, Iraqi Ambassador to India Fakhri H Al-Issa had said that the Embassy has no information about the missing 39 Indians citizens.

“I don’t want to say anything. I have no information. Sometimes no news is good news. They might be in Badush prison,” Issa said.

Sushma Swaraj, along with Minister of State (MoS) for Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) MJ Akbar and MoS MEA Gen. (Retd.) VK Singh, met families of 39 Indians who are missing in Iraq since 2014 on July 16.

PTI/ANI