Thoroughly deplorable scenes were witnessed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday as a ruckus created by opposition parties prevented external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj from speaking about the 39 Indian workers who were killed by ISIS in Iraq's Mosul.
Shortly after she gave the tragic confirmation in the Rajya Sabha, Swaraj rose to speak in the Lower House as well. However, despite her and speaker Sumitra Mahajan repeatedly appealing to the protesting Opposition MPs to allow her to make the statement, the lawmakers persisted.
'An Iraq official is to make an announcement about the matter', Swaraj said, adding that she didn't want the world to hear about the Indians' demise from foreign sources.
"You don't have any feelings only", Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said on multiple occasions to no avail.
Unable to make her statement, Swaraj sat back in her seat following which the house attempted to continue proceedings. The ruckus continued, however, and the house had to be adjourned for the day.
A number of politicians immediately began to play politics over sad confirmation.
The CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury took to Twitter to write:
In response to the atrocious politics, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said the following outside Parliament:
"I am saddened that someone from the Opposition is playing politics over such an unfortunate incident. Do you not think it is the job of the government and the EAM to keep looking for proof of even one person being alive until all doors have been shut?
She carried on looking and carried on the fight until she found this mass grave and then went to the extent of having DNA sent there.
Instead of giving credit to the government and a lone woman who led this fight, I'm surprised they're now trying to find fault with something like this."
Earlier, speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj had explained the circumstances of the workers' kidnap four years ago, saying that the workers' mortal remains were found in a mass grave and DNA tests had confirmed their identities.
As many as 40 Indians were originally abducted by terrorist organisation ISIS in June 2015 from Mosul in Iraq but one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh, Swaraj said in a suo motu statement. The remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed.
Search operations led to a mound in Badoosh where locals said some bodies were buried by the ISIS. Deep penetration radars were used to establish that the mound indeed was a mass grave, she said, adding the Indian authorities requested their Iraqi counterpart to exhume the bodies.
Swaraj said the mass grave had exactly 39 bodies, with distinctive features like long hair, non-Iraqi shoes and IDs.
The bodies were then sent to Baghdad for DNA testing. DNA testing by Martyrs Foundation has established the identity of 38 Indians while there has been 70% matching of the DNA for the 39th person, she said.