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Capt seeks Swaraj’s help for last rites, ex gratia to families 

Chandigarh: Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to provide help to the families of Indian hostages killed in Iraq in performing last rites, besides ex gratia relief.The CM, who wrote to Sushma on the issue, also called her up.Sushma assured Capt Amarinder that the Indian Government was making arrangements to bring the last remains in coffins with due respect to the deceased. The Chief Minister told her that his government would make arrangements for the coffins to be delivered to the families of the victims for the final rites.The CM said he had already directed state government officials to visit the bereaved families.In his letter to the Union Minister, Capt Amarinder pointed out that most of the deceased hailed from Punjab. While the state government had been providing a monthly assistance of Rs 20,000 to the victims’ families, he said, he would be grateful if the Centre could also give them due assistance, given the special circumstances surrounding the matter.Expressing grief at the news, the Chief Minister said it had come as a shock to the families and to everyone else in Punjab as they had been hoping and praying for the well-being of the hostages, who had been abducted by the ISIS in 2014.Capt Amarinder earlier told mediapersons outside the Vidhan Sabha that the deaths of the 39 hostages should have been confirmed by the Central government immediately after the lone survivor revealed that the remaining hostages were killed. The families had been living under uncertainty all these years, which naturally aggravated their miseries, he added.Capt Amarinder also informed the House about the statement made by Sushma in Parliament and requested the Chair to include their names in the obituary list. The House then paid homage to the deceased.

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