New Delhi, Mar 30: Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh will visit Iraq on April 1 to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 Indians who were killed by ISIS in Mosul. Singh will return to India on a special plane on April 2 with the mortal remains which were exhumed from a mass grave in Badosh.

Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament that the 39 Indians abducted by Islamic State terror outfit in Mosul in Iraq were dead and their bodies had been recovered. Following Swaraj’s announcement, some of the families expressed anguish that till then the External Affairs Ministry had continued to assure them that the captured Indians were alive.

However, while addressing the media, Swaraj claimed that the government did not keep anyone in the dark on the issue. “We had been saying that we neither have the evidence of them being alive nor the evidence of them being dead. We maintained this in 2014 and 2017 and we did not keep anyone in dark. We have not given false hopes to anyone,” Swaraj had cited.

Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Singh said yesterday, “There will be legal processes. We are waiting for information from there (Iraq). It may take 8-10 days (to bring back the bodies).”

He also stated that the government tried everything possible to verify the details relating to the Indians. On being asked if he felt there was any possibility of the Indians being alive, the minister said,”Life is full of hope. We knocked every door thinking some of them may have escaped. Maybe they have gone somewhere. Considering the war-like situation there, the possibility of their being alive was less.”