Will we do politics over deaths also?
Sushma Swaraj

WATCH: Sushma Swaraj Addresses Briefing On The 39 Indians Killed By ISIS In Iraq, Provides Details And Names And Shames Congress For Playing Politics

Written By Digital Desk | Mumbai | Published:

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  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed a news briefing over the killing of 39 Indian workers in Iraq by ISIS, which she had confirmed in the Rajya Sabha earlier in the day
  • The minister spoke about how she was prevented from making her statement in the Lok Sabha, naming and shaming the Congress and asking, 'Will we do politics over deaths also?'
  • She proceeded to narrate the sequence of events that led to the tragic news being confirmed and also answered questions
  • She confirmed that 27 of the deceased were from the Punjab, 4 from Himachal Pradesh, 6 from Bihar and 2 from West Bengal

Addressing a news conference, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj named and shamed the Congress party for its unruly behaviour in the Lok Sabha after she confirmed earlier in the day that the 39 Indian workers who had gone missing in Iraq's Mosul in 2015 had been killed by ISIS.

The minister spoke about the circumstances behind her statement in the Rajya Sabha -- about how she had intended to speak about the confirmation in a press conference but cancelled it following Vice President Venkaiah Naidu giving her confidence that Upper House MPs will halt any disruptions to listen to the tragic news.

She had hoped the same would also be true of the Lok Sabha but that turned out to not be the case as protesting MPs didn't allow her to make her statement. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan's protests on her behalf, even telling the errant MPs "You don't have feelings only", were unable to get them to allow her to speak. 

For the scenes in the lower house, Swaraj laid the blame squarely on the Congress party, naming Jyotiraditya Scindia specifically.

"Today, the hungama originated from the Congress. And Jyotiraditya Scindia handled its origination", she said.

"Congress indulged in very low level politics. Probably, Congress' president thought 'how did no uproar happen in the Rajya Sabha?' and decided to ask Scindia ji to lead protests in Lok Sabha."

"Will we do politics over deaths also?", Swaraj asked, adding that "This topic has been discussed many times. Usually they used to ask questions. Today I had answers but they didn't want to hear and they didn't want anyone else to hear."

She proceeded to shed light on the investigations and searches that led to the mass grave being found and the mortal remains being identified, answering questions posed by the kin of the deceased regarding how the missing Indians were found among the 'lakhs of people in those mass graves'.

"It would have been a sin had we handled over anybody's body claiming it to be those of our people, just for the sake of closing files."

"We found them when General VK Singh went to Badoosh."

"We told Iraqi authorities to use deep penetration radar. That's what told us there were indeed mortal remains buried in that location"

"First evidence was that the number of bodies was 39. We also found long hair and a Kada (27 of the deceased hailed from the Punjab, 4 from Himachal Pradesh, 6 from Bihar, 2 from West Bengal, she disclosed later)"

"Last night, they said that DNA samples of 38 of the bodies had matched with those from family members of the missing workers", Swaraj said of the Martyrs Foundation which conducted the tests.

She also spoke about the efforts to bring back the mortal remains and answered questions from the media. Watch the full news briefing in the video above.
 

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