Dozens of Indians kidnapped by Islamic State four years ago were set on fire and buried in a mass grave, India’s government has revealed.

The 39 victims were taken hostage in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where they had been working in 2014.

They were mainly from the state of Punjab and have been identified by their DNA samples, India’s foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said.

Until October last year, both India and Iraq said they believed the missing workers were still alive and would not declare them dead without solid evidence.

Opposition parties in India have accused the government of misleading parliament and the hostages’ families.

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Image: Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj told parliament the 39 IS hostages had been found in a mass grave

The victims were found after officials were told of a mass grave in Badush where people had been burned and buried by IS fighters.

After they were discovered with the help of deep penetration radar, the bodies were exhumed and sent to Baghdad for forensic analysis.

Some identity cards and personal belongings were also found.

Ms Swaraj told the Indian parliament: “The most difficult task was to get proof.

“Such a barbaric organisation… there were so many mass graves around and so many piles of bodies.

“To track down the bodies of our people and to take them all back to Baghdad was a huge task.”

Arrangements are now being made to repatriate the bodies.

Ms Swaraj added: “It is unfortunate that the missing persons were not brought back alive, but at least for the relatives and dear ones there is a certain closure of this ordeal that has lasted for almost three years.”