PM Modi announces Rs 10 lakh compensation for kin of Indians killed in Iraq

PM Modi announces Rs 10 lakh compensation for kin of Indians killed in Iraq

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the family of each of the 39 Indians, who were killed after being abducted by Islamic State (IS) militants from Mosul in Iraq.

The prime minister announced the ex gratia payment to the bereaved families a day after the Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh triggered a controversy by comparing disbursal of compensation to the next of the kin of the victims with "distribution of biscuits". Singh, however, on Tuesday alleged in a Facebook post that mediapersons had asked him repeatedly about compensation in order to politicise the issue.

"Prime Minister Shri @narendramodi has announced an assistance Rs 10 lacs each from Prime Minister's Relief Fund to the bereaved families of 39 Indian nationals killed by ISIS in Iraq," Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister, tweeted on Tuesday.

The mortal remains of 38 of the 39 Indians abducted by the IS in 2014 and killed subsequently were brought to India by an Indian Air Force aircraft on Monday.

Singh escorted the mortal remains from Baghdad to Amritsar airport and addressed a press conference on his arrival.

Most of the deceased hailed from Punjab.

"This is not like distributing biscuits, this is about the lives of the people. Understand! How do I make the announcement now? I am not carrying anything in my pocket," Singh was quoted as saying when mediapersons asked him about compensation for the families of the deceased. "This is not a game of football," he said in replies to questions over possibility of the government giving jobs to the next of the kin of those killed.

The opposition Congress and Trinamool Congress accused the Minister of State for External Affairs of rubbing salt in the wounds of the bereaved and being insensitive.

Singh, however, defended himself in a Facebook post on Tuesday. He said the reporters were "instructed" or "coached" to ask the same questions on compensation, and were desperate to squeeze out "a breaking news".

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