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Translation of Press Conference by External Affairs Minister on issue of 39 Indians in Iraq (March 20, 2018)

March 21, 2018

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: Namaskar. First of all, I would like to apologize to all of you that earlier we had given you the time of 12:30 pm, then we canceled it and laterwe again troubled you at 3:30 pm.

The background for this was that today I wanted to speak in parliament about the latest information about the Indians who had been held hostage in Iraq.But the way the Parliament had been functioning in the last few days, no work could be done from the 5th to the 20th of the month so there was an uncertainty that perhaps even today I will not be allowed to speak.

So I asked the JS (XP) to call the press at 12.30 pm because the Martyrs Foundation's Conference was already scheduled for 1:30 pm. I wanted the nation to get information from its Foreign Minister rather than through the Martyrs Foundation.

But when earlier in the morning I went and spoke to Venkaiah Ji, as the Zero Hour in Rajya Sabhastarts at 11.00 am, he said that he will talk to the leaders there and he felt that on such a sensitive issue, the leaders will maintain peace and they will listen to me. Later I received his message, I was sitting there only, he had conveyed that he had discussed it and asked me to speak after laying of paper and everybody will listen to what I have to say.

Those of you who were covering the Rajya Sabha saw that the house listened to me with great peace and graciousness, and in the end when I asked that the House should pay homage to them by observing a silence, all the leaders participated in that too.So I thought it would be the same in the Lok Sabha also hence I immediately called on to the Madam Speakerand told her that see this has happened in the Rajya Sabha, she had also seen some of the proceedings, so all the people who are coming to the well, thosewho are interrupting the proceedings, you should talk to them,it would be nice if they also listen to me peacefully.

So she arranged a discussion with all the parties who used to come to the Well, who were making a commotion and whowere stopping the proceedings, and all of them said that they would definitely be in the Well, they will not go to their seats but they will remain completely silent and they will also lower theirplacards because it is such a subject where it would not be appropriate to disrupt the proceedings.

So when all of them gave this assurance, then I asked the JS (XP) that now there is no need for the press conference because the things that I had to say I have already said that in the Rajya Sabha and I have got the assurance from the Lok Sabha, now you please cancel the press conference.

But you all saw what happened in the Lok Sabha today. I could not understand, all those people who had agreed earlier, they were really silent, no one was raising the slogans but today the commotion was led by the Congress and Jyotiraditya Scindia himself took the charge. If you were watching the proceedings, you would have seen how many times the Speaker herself used these words, have we lost the sensitivity, has indifference come up to this level, why are you doing politics?And she repeatedly askedJyotiraditya Ji, why are you standing, please sit down.

You all have been seeing the ruckus that is being created on the no-confidence motion, Congress never stood up during that and never participated in that. They have assumed the stance that yes we want to have a discussion on the no-confidence motion. So what was the thing that happened today that when I wanted to say something to the entire country on such a sensitive issue, when efforts of four years were coming to a conclusion, Congress took such initiative on that day?

And I would like to say that today’s behavior of Congress has crossed all the limits of petty politics. The only reason that I could fathom is that after seeing the Rajya Sabha proceedings, his party president felt that what just happened? She spoke and went without any issue, you people listened quietly, all the efforts of the government came into the record, the whole thing that the government had to say came intothe record, how did you let it happen and hence it will not happen in the Lok Sabha and so Jyotiraditya Scindia was given this responsibility deliberately in the Lok Sabha that he will see to it that the proceedings do not go on there in the Lok Sabha.

I went to the Lok Sabha with a heavy heart but I returned from there a lot more overwhelmed because I was already sad with this unfortunate news but what really happened in the Lok Sabha made me feel more distressed. Will we politicize even the deaths? Such a big incident, such an unfortunate news. They had already seen in Rajya Sabha that I had come with the news of the confirmation of the death of 38 people, and I was saying that I am here to deliver an unfortunate news.

On how many occasions this issue was discussed in the House, each time after detailed discussionsthey would ask questions. When I was there in the House with the answers to those questions along with the evidence, then they themselves, neither listened to what I had to say nor did they let anybody else to listen.They just forgot their stand from 5th to 20th of the month. Today I want to ask the Congress leaders, what was that reason because of which they stalled the proceedings of the house today?

As far as this incident is concerned, I would like to say that this happened in June 2014 and today it is the March of 2018. In the meantime, all possible attempts to find those people, I am saying possiblein a modest way, or else I could say that whatever could be thought of to find them, the government thought about that and whatever could be done, government did that and Prime Minister himself andall three of us were engaged in this.

I am witness to all those meetings with countries which can help us find those 39 people.In each and every of those meetingsand in all bilateral dialogueswith them,Prime Minister raised this issue and raised it very emphatically. Later on the same day I myself talked to foreign ministers from all those countries on the phone and in a country like Turkey, where I myself went incognito, if they can tell anything, if they can give me any clue because it is the duty of a responsible government, it is their obligation that without any proof the government does not declares anyone dead.

There are some governments who believe in "Missing, believed to be killed.” If you are missing then you will be construed as dead but this government is not like that which believes in Missing, believed to be killed. I have said it in the Parliament time and again that unless proof is found, I will not declare them dead, I will not close their file. Yes, the day that evidence becomes available, I will not delay it further and within 24 hoursI will confess that they have been killed.

Friends, some questions have been raised by the families of those who have been killed, I would like to answer them all one by one. The first question they raised is why we did not tell the family first and why did we announce it in the Parliament?You all know that it is a parliamentary tradition that if any significant event takes place when the Parliament is in session, it is the Parliament which is first taken into confidence and rest are told about it later.And in this case, it was my word that I had given in the parliament which I repeated in the Rajya Sabha, where I had said on July 27, 2017, that the day I find any concrete evidence and if Parliament is in session on that day, then I will request to stop its proceedings and inform the country and if parliament is not in session then I will inform the whole country on twitter.Now since the parliament was in session hence before telling anyone else, it was my duty, it was my parliamentary obligation that I would first tell the Parliament and thentell anyone else later.

Second, they have asked how we found their dead bodies from lakhs of dead bodies. I want to tell them the effort behind all this. It was not found from millions of dead bodies.Andalong with this they also questioned that when wecollectedtheir DNA samples, did we know that they have died?

First of all, let me tell you that before the liberation of Mosul, our much of efforts were directed to find out whether they are alive or not, but when even 20-25 days after the liberation of Mosul no one called us, then we started to have a feeling that now is the time that we should start looking in the dead bodies also. You know that a large number of mass graves were discovered there.So westarted to check if someone from our missing people was there in those mass graves. For this we took the DNA samples as they had asked the same from us to do so.

When the Iraqi Foreign Minister came here and I told him that he must assist us at least in this search.He thenintroduced us to the Martyrs Foundation and theyasked to provide them with the DNA samples. DNA matching is good with samples either from parents or brothers and sisters.Only then we had contacted the state governments to which these people belonged.The states were Punjab, Himachal, West Bengal and Bihar, so we had given it through them.

The DNA samples were then sent for identification from the Mass Graves but the bodies that we found they have not been found in the Mass Graves. They were found when General Singh went to Badush and there was a person who said that this is a mound andhe had seen that many corpses were buried together on that mound.As we came to know that there was a mound and all the bodies were buried together underneath it, we felt that this mound must be checkedso we asked the Iraqi authorities to first look below the moundthrough deep penetrating radar, check it and tell if dead bodies or mortal remains are there underneath that mound. So after finding that mound,the first thing that we didwas to get that examined by the DPR and when they checked it with DPR, they said that yes there were dead bodies beneath that mound.

After that we did not stop there only, we asked Iraqi authorities to excavate that mound. It was not easy to dig that mound but we asked them to go in deep and not only that, but to exhume the dead bodies also.When the dead bodies were dug out, the first proof that we found was that the number of dead bodies was 39, the number of people buried in that mound was 39.The first evidence of the 39 dead bodies was found. The second proof was that we foundlong hair,since there were some Sikh brothers in it andwe also found a Kada, which Sikh people wear, so there was some hope that it could be our missing people.

After that those dead bodies were taken to Baghdad and there werequested theMartyrs Foundation to match them with the DNA samples which we had already provided for matching with dead bodies from mass graves,because we feel that the evidences that we have found from that mound, it seems that these 39 bodies could be of our missing people.

They accepted our request and started matching those dead bodies with the DNA samples that we had already given. The first match that was confirmed, was of a boy named Sandeep Kumar, after that, the rest of the matches started to happen. Our Ambassador used to tell that today there were 5 matches, later there were 6 matches and so on. Last night, he said that Madam out of 39 we now have 38 confirmed matches. The last one is under process because the sampleis not from his parents because his parents were not alive.The sample is from a close relative but that too has matched up to 70%.

Friends, the protocol of Martyrs Foundation's Protocol is so strict that they are not ready to declare a match at 70%. They do not declare a match if there is less than 98% match of the DNA.They said that they have kept it under process because they are now taking the DNA from the boneand they willmatch it again and if we can give another DNA sample for the same.We have sent another DNA sample there, they are matching with it also, but our ambassador said that 38 have been identified.

That's why the President of the Foundation, Nazia al-Sameer, wants to hold a press conference tomorrow at 11:00 am in Iraq i.e. 1:30 pm by Indian time.Today she did a press conference, a little delayed,by Indian time,it was probably at 2:30 pm but she, whatever I had said in the Rajya Sabha, fully confirmed that the DNA samples that they had received, out of them 38 have been identified and one is under process.

So I would like to say that people are probably thinking that millions of dead bodies were lying there and we have taken any 39 bodies to mislead and now we are saying that we have brought the dead bodies. No, not at all, that would be a sin. Because I have to close the file so we will hand over somebody else's body, we will never commit this sinful act. We have, according to the confirmation byMartyrs Foundation who have done more than 98%DNA matching, they have identified the bodies with the DNA samples along with the names and a certificate, with those 38 bodies that have been identified.

One other thing that they are saying is that we kept them in the dark, we did not keep them in the dark. I have these two statements of mine. One is of November 24, 2014, this incident happened 2014, this is what I said in the Parliament during the same year 2014. "Today I neither have concrete proof of them being alive or being dead, but I am saying that the day when any person who can confirm with a concrete proof, if anyone comes with a proof, then I will admit that they have been killed.”

My second statement is from 27 July, 2017, three years later. "Chairman Sir, I would like to repeat this that until I have any proof of them being killed I will not declare them dead. To declare, without any proof that somebody has been killed, is a sin for anybody and irresponsible on the part of the government.Therefore I will neither commit this sin nor will Ibehave in an irresponsible way. The day when any evidence is found and it is a concrete evidence, then without delay, if the parliament will be in session on that day, I’ll seek permission from the chair to stop the proceedings and provide the information there. And if there is no parliamentary session on that day, then within 10 minutes I will give the information to the whole country on Twitter.” This is my statement of 27 July, 2017 and the earlier one was of 24 November, 2014.

This has been my stand for the last three years.In 2014 also I am saying that I do not have any evidence of them being alive or being dead, and in 2017 also I am saying the same thing, so whom have I kept in dark? I did not give false hopes to anyone, it was not falsehood, they were tireless efforts andthey were efforts of unprecedented scale which have never been attempted before in the country.

Both of my colleagues are sitting here with me. Like I said that Prime Minister Ji and I spoke to the Foreign Ministers, Akbar Ji oversees the Gulf, General Singh oversees the welfare of the all Indians through OIA. They discussed this issue in all the bilateral talks that we had and General Singh went there so many times. After the liberation of Mosul he went there three times.

When Iraqi Foreign Minister came to India, Akbar Ji had told me that he had discussed it with the Iraqi Foreign Minister that I want to send General V K Singh but I want a help from him, that this time Iraqi officials must assist him in their search efforts. So Akbar Ji later told me, Akbar Ji you only say what you told me.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri M J Akbar: There was this very good Arabic idiom which Iraqi Foreign Minister had said.He said that when it itches, then one should check it with their own hand. Please send General Singh then only you would believe it.

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: Since I said it to him during my conversation that I want to send General Singh, pleasepermit us to visit Iraq and this time you also help us, then he used this idiom andalong with thathe also said that

Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri M J Akbar: He also said that when the bilateral discussions with EAM were taking place, and anyhow it had become a constant link, it was discussed on phone, it was discussed when there were meetings, it was also discussed when we would visit in the context of UN meetings, so when it was discussed then the Iraqi Foreign Minister had said that he was moved by the pain which he saw on our EAM’s face.

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: So I am trying to say that when he went there and all this which I told you is what happened prior to that, so these dead bodies have not been taken from any of the mass graves. They have been exhumed from that mound which we first got examined by a Deep Penetration Radar, then we dug that mound, then we exhumed the bodies underneath that mound and took them to Baghdad and we got the dead bodies matched with the DNA samples which we had already provided them then we have made the announcement. Therefore these dead bodies are not taken from the millions of dead of bodies from some mass graves.

I must tell you that from the year 2014 to March 2018, we never gave up our efforts, even for a single day, that we could,any how find them either dead or alive. Today, when we came to know that 38 people have been confirmed through DNA matching and only one of them is pending then we thought that now it is the time to inform the nation. Yesterday when the Martyrs Foundation said that theywill be doing a press conference, we thought we must inform prior to that press conference.

You people were looking for the list, who are those people. I have the list here with the name of the states, and I will ask JS (XP) that after this press conference, to put this list on the MEA website.The list also has the photos and the names.

As far as the states are concerned, 27 people were from Punjab, 4 from Himachal, 6 were from Bihar and 2 were from West Bengal. And the person whose identity could not be confirmed as of now is Raju Yadav, and he belongs to Bihar. That means 27 out of 27 from Punjab, 4 out of 4 in Himachal, 2 out of 2 in West Bengal and 5 out of 6 in Bihar, these 38 people have been identified. A boy from Bihar, Raju Yadav, his identity still remains to be confirmed.

We have decided that we will bring these dead bodies back here as soon as possible. I have just spoken to my Ambassador,after the Martyrs Foundation's press conference ended, to immediatelycomplete the formalities to bring the bodies back and also to get the coffins prepared immediately.As soon as we get the news that coffins are ready and the formalities have been completed, we will then decide as we have already decided about the airplane that General V K Singh will go there on a plane and bring the bodies back. He would not be bringing them to Delhi as nobody is from Delhi. He will be taking the airplane to Amritsar. If Punjab people say that it is more important to take the airplane to Jalandhar as there are more people from Jalandhar, then this is something which they have to decide, whether in Amritsar or Jalandhar, General Singh will hand over the dead bodies of people from Punjab and Himachal. After that he will take the airplane to Patna and hand over the dead bodies of all the people of Bihar, I pray to god that by that time the identity of sixth person is also confirmed, then he will hand over the 5 or the 6 dead bodies in Patna and then he will go to Kolkata and hand over the dead bodies of the 2 persons of West Bengal. I believe that closure will only be possible when the dead bodies are handed over to the family members.

Some people are saying that they are speaking in anger,speaking in anger is very natural and I can understand that.Whatever we can try but to feel the pain of someone whose family member has departed, I can understand that pain, so I am not angry because of their anger and I consider it very normal to be angry but I must say to them that I have never kept them in the dark. From 2014 to 2017, this was my stand in the house also, I used to say this in front of them alsothat we do get some information, some sources say that they are alive but there is no evidence.Every time, and I have not met them once or twice, I met their families 10-11 times, and every time when I got up,I said that there is no evidence and I will be able to tell you only after I have some evidence or proof.

So I have never kept them in the dark, nor did I lie in front of the country, insteadwe fulfilled the expectation of the country and today I am satisfied that the word which I gave, that the day when I will get concrete evidence, I will declare them dead and then it will be the closure. The closure for me will happen on that day when we will hand over the dead bodies to their families.

We have a saying it is possible to console one for someone who is dead, but it is not possible to console for someone who is missing. So they will have at least some closure by performing the last rites of their children according to their traditions. I did not want to close it with some half-baked things. There can be no better closure than to handing over the dead bodies of the missing people and hence, through you, I want to say this to the whole country, they did not allow me to speak in the Lok Sabha and hence I made you the medium, what was scheduled to happen at 12:30 pm is now happening at 3:30 pm, but through you all this information is received by the whole country that the murder of 38 people has now been confirmed, only one is remaining and it is possible that also happens according to their protocol of 98% then we will bring that 39th dead body also.

If you have any questions then I am ready to take the questions.

Question: When did you get the news for the first time about that mass grave, if you could tell the date, the first time when it happened and when the process of DNA matching was started? The second question is linked to the fact that you are saying that Harjit has not spoken the truth, but Harjit,on the very first time, reported that those people have been killed, then if at that time,had the government tried in that particular way, don’t you think that the results would have come a little earlier?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: What would have been the endeavors after his story, after that only announcement was remaining? See Harjit Masih is a person, we are a government. A person can say that they are dead, believing what he told should I have stopped searching for them and said let’s declare the same.This would have been very irresponsible. It is the duty of a responsible government that a person might say anything, either one person says or two or four or many, until the government gets evidence, the government should not close the file and keep on trying.

It was the responsibility of the government which is what we did and fulfilled our responsibility and the biggest thing, as I said, thetireless efforts, to lead those tireless efforts to a logical conclusion. Today I can say with full confidence that yes they have died because I have a DNA matching certificate.

If I had told this to the country by believing what one person had said, then I would not have had to do anything again. I have said that there are such governments which say that Missing means believed to be killed, because then there is nothing more to do. No efforts had to be made since you have said,believed to be killed.Since they are missing which means they were killed, but this government is such a responsible government that it does not declare ‘believed to be killed’.

Today I can say that yes, they have been killed because we have got DNA matching certification and that too from afoundation whose president has got the rank of a Minister.Their President is of the rank of a Minister, who did this press conference today.

The first information that we got was of a boy named Sandeep. It was informed that the DNA of Sandeep has been matched, after that there were daily news of some 4 DNA matches or 5 DNA matches. I have not kept the record of the dates when these confirmations were made but yes after confirmation of Sandeep it was said that it is the possibility that these might be our people.

Question: Has there been any idea as to when they might have been killed, how many days earlier they would have been killed and the other thing is that whether they have been shot or killed in some other way, any information after looking at their bodies?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj:
See, the first thing is that you cannot confirm when they were killed and the question would become irrelevant after my answer that whenever they were killed, be it 6 months ago or two years ago, theirbodies could not have been found until Mosul was liberated. So whether they were killed 6 months ago or 2 years ago becomes irrelevant because the search for the bodies could not have commenced until Mosul was liberated. Mosul was liberated on 9th of July and on 10th of July General Singh were sent there, did not even take 24 hours to do so.

So far as to as when they were killed, it cannot be ascertained, but the second thing that you asked, it is possible that when the certificates of Martyrs Foundation come,it might have something about how they were killed, whether by a bullet or how.When we will see the DNA profiling then we might find the answer to this question, but when were they killed, it has become irrelevant today because the dead bodies could be found only after that, they could not have been found earlier.

And you also know that only Indian citizens have not been killed. There were people from everycountry, China, Japan, Russia, America etc. The mass graves that have been found there, all are not of the local civilians only. But I think, I have to check this, according to our knowledge, India will be the first country, which has brought the bodies of all its deceased citizens barring one, which is under process. It is my guess that India will be the first country rest I can say on the basis of information only. But I guess that India will be the first country which is bringing all its people to, minus one which is under process, their country.

Question: You have mentioned that you started taking DNA in the month of September, then why it was delayed by 6 months, this is question one. Secondly, once you had said that inputs were received from NGOs that maybe these people are alive, then is this not a contradiction?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: No, I'll tell you. Two things that you said, first you said that why it was delayed. They started taking DNA from September which were then sent there to Iraq, but at that time they were for matching for dead bodies from the Mass Graves.Now when we found the mound, examined it with DPRand then dug it and when the bodies were taken outthen it seemed that they are our missing people. These efforts have not been done by anybody else. So when we handed the bodies to Martyrs Foundation, there was no delay at all because we have already given the DNA samples for matching from mass graves, and this became very helpful. If we had started to collect the DNA samples after finding the mound then those reports would not have been confirmed now, it would have taken another six months for confirmation.

And the thing that you are talking about NGOs, that was in the very beginning when we had talked about Red Crescent. As I said today also that the first information that we got after speaking with the owner of the company was that they were taken to a textile factory.

Question: Of course the government was trying its best all these years, you had send Ambassador Suresh Reddy at that time as a special envoy to Iraq but in all these years was there any primary evidence that you got but you often mentioned in Lok Sabha and otherwise in your statements that they were secondary sources but was there any primary evidence of them being alive or having been seen anywhere or did you get any information from any Head of State in Iraq or around that area, some assurance that perhaps they were spotted in that area. And Ma’am was there any information what they were being used as, was there any brutalities on them by the ISIS, were they being used as labourers in that area or slaves?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: We did not get any information about these details but yes we got information from two Head of States that they have not been killed.

Question: General V K Singh seems to have a very unpleasant and painful task to do as he heads to Amritsar, Patna and Kolkata. Does the government sends a message across with him to these families because they were bread winners or assisting them in any manner?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: I think it is too premature to answer this. First let us give the bodies only then we will talk about it. And we will talk with the concerned state governments also.

Question: The lone survivor Harjeet Masih has alleged today that he has been harassed ever since he spoke what he says is the truth what he saw happened and why was he never considered a credible source?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: First of all, this is absolutely baseless that he was harassed. He was kept in protective custody and I said it on the floor of the House in Rajya Sabha that he has been kept in protective custody. Nobody is harassed in protective custody and why his version was not credible, I think I have already answered that and detail in Rajya Sabha today.

Question: The statement that you gave in the Rajya Sabha, there is a confusion about it, you had said June 2015.

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: That was a mistake, the correct one is 2014.

Question: Did it became clear how they were killed, ISIS killed them or they were killed in bombings?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: The same question was asked right now, we cannot tell about it, maybe the Martyrs Foundation certificate may tell something how they were killed, but I cannot answer that at this moment.

Question: You said that when we will hand over the dead bodies to the family members, it will be a closure, but as far as our common understanding the closure of any murder case occurs when the killer is punished. So what will India do to punish those murderers?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: You can punish the murderer who is in front of you, who can be identified. This is sucha barbarous terrorist organization, ISIS,which has made many great countries helpless. Whole world gets united anddeal with such terrorist organizations, our Prime Minister has been talking about it everywhere, but in Hamburg, he also gave 11 point programon how to fight with this terror.

These are no ordinary killers which you know by the name and you get them sentenced. Who, from the ISIS, killed them? Everyone knows they were from the ISIS.The world must fight together with ISIS and not only from ISIS but all terrorist organizations like ISIS. India is doing great deal of efforts for this. And let me give you another information that India had moved the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, CCIT, in 1996. Now also we are continuously making efforts that at least the International Legal Framework to fight this terror should be passed.

Question: You said that you don’t know exactly when they were killed, but I want to ask you then how can you be certain that everything Harjeet Masih said was also a lie? Was it worth following, you think retrospectively, some of the leads he gave even on investigating them?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: No, I told in Rajya Sabha that when General V K Singh went there, the company owner said that he changed his name into Ali and he escaped with the Bangladeshi people.

Question: Just wanted to ask, you said that you understand the anger of the relatives of these people, has the government announced any compensation to the next of kin for all these losses?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: I have already answered this question that it is premature to answer this. We will talk to the state governments also. Once let us give the bodies to the families.

Question Contd.: You clearly said that Harjeet Masih was lying, so will he face any action for the version that according to you he concocted, will he face any action for lying to the government?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: I don’t think it is for the State government to say. Now I can see that the questions are being repeated.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar: If you have any new question to address.

Question:………….. Inaudible…………….

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: See, as far as the time period is concerned, in how many days he will go, I have just said, in my initial statement that I have told my ambassador that there should be no delay now.Get all the formalities completed so that the bodies could leave from Iraq as soon as possible and also toget ready the coffins. So as soon as we get the news that both things are now ready, thenGeneral Singh will depart immediately for Iraq.

Question: Madam, just now you told what happened in the Lok Sabha today when you were going to give your statement. My question is that from June 2014 to March 2017, they are in the opposition and before that they were in the government. Have the Congress or the opposition parties, have they ever offered any kind of support to this whole campaign of the Indian Government?

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj: No, see, it did not come in their purview. At that time the whole country was united on what the government was trying and to cooperate with us.I asked this twice in both the Houses that should I continue to search or declare them dead, what they wanted. So they said no, you are on correct path, and you must move forward. But if I should say that they could do something, they could not have, nobody could, not only the Congress but nobody else also. All those who could have helped they did. I have no objection or allegation of any kind against the Congress.

My only thing is that today it was such a serious matter and they knew also. Rajya Sabha members did not know what I was going to speak about, I had only told that some information has to be provided regarding Iraq. Lok Sabha members had listened what I was going to say, despite this, without understanding the seriousness of the matter,they politicized the matterand knowing that the same thing which I had spoken in Rajya Sabha, I should not be able to speak. I am sad because of this. Thanks a lot.

Official Spokesperson, Shri Raveesh Kumar:
Thank you very much friends.

(Concludes)

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