The nation was filled with sympathies and condolences for the families of the 39 Indians killed by the Islamic state. But the congress accused the BJP of lacking in its actions and politicised the issue. A challenge was issued on Twitter in the form of a poll to get the opinions of the people on Twitter. The poll conducted by the Congress on the issue of killing of 39 Indians in Iraq by the Islamic State backfired as 76 percent of the total 33,879 voters refused to endorse the claim that it was External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s failure.

In the poll conducted on Twitter, the Congress had asked if “the death of 39 Indians in Iraq is Sushma Swaraj’s biggest failure as Foreign Minister”.

In a rare move, the External Affairs Minister retweeted the poll that was posted by the Congress’ official page on the micro-blogging site.

Swaraj, who had said that 39 Indians missing in Iraq would be presumed alive until there was evidence to the contrary and insisted on continuing the search, informed the Parliament about their death on 20 March after their bodies were found in a mass grave unearthed in Iraq’s Mosul. The opposition accused her of delaying the announcement and not doing enough to assuage the concerns of the families of those killed. The government was also criticised for not accepting the claims made by Harjit Masih, the only Indian who managed to escape.

Responding to these claims, Swaraj had said that finding the missing Indians and concluding that they had died was not possible before the liberation of Mosul. Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh went to Mosul just days after the Iraqi army liberated it in July 2017; she told reporters. On the issue of not accepting Masih’s claim, the minister had noted that responsible governments reach a conclusion based on facts and not on indents.

The case of 39 missing Indians had a profound impact on Indians. It had united the nation in prayers for the victims and anguish at the injustice. The Islamic State had the blood of countless innocent on its hand and it left deep psychological scars on the survivors and the families of the victims. While an enquiry and a strong line of questioning is a must when the parliament is in session. A poll to point out the shortcomings of the government was an ill timed idea which was bound to backfire.

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