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Timeline | 39 Indians abducted by Islamic State dead: A journey from hope to despair

Here’s a timeline of how the entire episode unfolded

punjab Updated: Mar 20, 2018 19:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Indians killed in Iraq,Missing Indians in Iraq,Sushma Swaraj
Seema (left) and her sons Karan react following confirmation by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj that her husband Sonu had been killed in Iraq. The family lives in Chawinda Devi village, some 22 kilometres from Amritsar. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)

The news of the death of 39 Indians abducted by the ISIS terror outfit in Mosul in Iraq three years ago have shocked the whole country. Here’s a timeline of how the entire episode unfolded:

June 15, 2014: ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) captures the city of Mosul (Iraq) where 39 Indian workers stayed. It’s around the same time they have their last conversation with relatives in India.

May 15, 2015: Harjit Masih, 25, addresses a press conference in Mohali, says he has been in the custody of Indian intelligence agonies since his return from Iraq last July. Says four or five days after they were taken hostage on June 15 last year, the ISIS took them to a hilltop, ordered them to line up, and shot them from behind. Masih, who was reportedly hit in the right leg, said he feigned death and escaped.

June 201, 2016: During her annual press conference in Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says the 39 Indians, kidnapped by the dreaded ISIS in Iraq in June 2014, are still alive, dismisses reports about their killing.

July 9, 2017: With the Iraqi forces freeing Mosul from ISIS, the families see a glimmer of hope.

July 16, 2017: External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj says minister of state for external affairs Gen V.K. Singh (retd), who was sent to Iraq, has received inputs that suggest the abducted Indians are at the Badush prison in Iraq. The Indians were reportedly being made to work in farms by the IS. They were captured and later lodged in Badush prison.

July 19, 2017: Iraqi envoy to India Fakhri H. Al Issa tells India that though Iraq had regained Mosul, they have no idea about what happened to the 39 Indians. He also hints that they should consider forensic tests of the mass graves discovered in various parts of Iraq.

July 22, 2017: A reporter in Iraq says Badush prison lies in ruins, no prisoners there.

October 18, 2017: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) ordered the deputy commissioner of the respective districts to collect DNA samples of the kin.

October 20, 2017: Families of the victims get phone calls from the government officials for giving DNA samples.

October 28, 2017: The families give their DNA samples in the forensic lab of Amritsar Medical College.

March 20, 2018: Swaraj tells Rajya Sabha that a deep penetration radar had confirmed the death of the hostages who had been taken from Mosul. Their mortal remains were exhumed and sent to Iraq’s capital Baghdad for DNA sample verification. “Yesterday, we got information that DNA samples of 38 people have matched and DNA of the 39th person has matched 70 percent,” she said.

First Published: Mar 20, 2018 19:02 IST