Iraq never said 39 missing Indians were dead: Swaraj


New Delhi, July 26

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said Iraq Foreign Minister had never said that the 39 missing Indians were dead.Speaking amid uproar over the issue in the Lok Sabha, Swaraj said the government would not close the file on the missing Indians in Iraq till they got evidence of their death.She said: “It is a sin to declare a person dead without concrete evidence.”She said the Opposition was free to declare the missing Indians dead, but it would be their responsibility if anyone turned out alive later.She said: “It’s very easy for me to say that the 39 Indians are dead. No one, including their families, will ask me anything after that”, adding that the government was not misleading anyone over the issue.She said the Iraqi authority had said that the Indians were last heard of being lodged in Badush jail until early 2016 and they had lost contact with them after that.She said Iraq never said that the Indians were in the jail when it was razed, adding that the question now was where they went after 2016.       She said Iraq had assured the Indian government that they would come up with hard evidence on the issue.“I’ve told them I will not accept any information from secondary sources and will accept only new information with evidence,” said Sushma.She said: “I’ve met the families of the missing people 12 times and will now meet them only after I get hard evidence suggesting something.”Sushma will make a statement on the issue in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.