Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh on Sunday left for Iraq to bring back the mortal remains of the 39 Indians there by the Islamic State terrorists.
Though 39 Indians were killed as the Islamic State took over the city of Mosul in 2014, the mortal remains of 38 will be brought back as identification of one body is still pending, Singh said before leaving.
"The minister left around 1 PM from the Hindon airbase and is expected to return with the bodies tomorrow," an official said.
After coming back, he will first go to Amritsar followed by Patna and Kolkata to hand over bodies to their relatives, official sources said.
The Minister is expected to return with the bodies by late Monday, following which he will travel to Amritsar in Punjab and Patna in Bihar to hand over the mortal remains of the victims to their respective families.
A total of 27 persons from Punjab and four from Bihar were among the 39 killed.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament on March 20 that all 39 Indian construction workers kidnapped in 2014 from Mosul have been killed.
The Minister had earlier said that she will not consider them dead unless there was proof in this regard, rejecting lone survivor Harjit Masih's claim that the 39 Indians taken captive by the Islamic State were shot dead.
The Minister had said that the DNA samples collected from the missing Indians' relatives matched with 38 bodies, while the identity of the 39th body was yet to be fully confirmed since the DNA sample sent was from someone else in his family as both his parents are dead.