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Four years after 39 Indians went missing in Iraq, Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj confirmed on Tuesday that all of them, kidnapped by the Daesh terror outfit, were dead.

Talking to DNA from his village in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, Nahar said his cousin had always remained firm on the fact that the abduction was done by IS and that the 39 persons were killed in 2014, "When Harjit returned to India three years ago, he told us time and again that he saw the 39 Indians being shot dead by IS militants right in front of his eyes". After Iraq recaptured the area around Mosul, search operations led to a mound of dirt near Badush, where local residents said bodies had been buried by the ISIS, Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament.

"We used a deep penetration satellite to see a mass grave". "We have not been able to establish when they were killed".

Capping a series of conflicting statements from the government on the fate of these men, Swaraj said the identities of 38 of those dead have been confirmed while one case was still "under process".

She said the Indian government did not contact the family to tell them his body had been identified.

They were taken hostage by Islamic State militants when they took control of the second largest city in Iraq in 2014. "What do we say now?"

Speaking to ANI, the Congress spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala said, "Modi Government has passed all limits of heartlessness when the whole world was saying they have died, the Indian Government assured the country and the kin that they are alive".

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said it was "unpardonable" that families of victims had to learn about their heartbreaking loss from television channels instead of the government. Now everybody believes me.

"Unfortunately the one who is playing politics on this issue is Sushma Swaraj ji". Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will be flying to Iraq to bring back the bodies on a special flight. The plane carrying the mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and finally to Kolkata.

The minister made the announcement in the Rajya Sabha, which meant several families came to know from TV the fate of their relatives.

Giving giving falsehood to people is actually cruel and suggests a certain level of lack transparency on part of the government, Tharoor said.