New Delhi: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is currently in the captivity of the Pakistani troops. A video of the captured pilot was posted online by Pakistan’s ISI spokesperson.
One relieving factor is that Pakistan has admitted to having the IAF pilot in their custody. While the entire nation join their hands in prayer for the safe return of the captive soldier, we do some digging up and find out how the neighbouring country has dealt with such prisoners of war in the past.
This is not the first instance of an Indian soldier in Pak captivity. On earlier occasions, Pakistani Forces have brutally tortured and even killed Indians in their custody.
Prominent examples of the ruthless treatment include those of Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja and Captain Saurabh Kalia during the 1999 Kargil Conflict. Ahuja was flying an MIG-21 when his plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile on May 27 during the conflict. This happened when Ahuja was trying to trace a lost MIg-21.
This was being flown by Flight Lieutenant K Nachiketa. While on the search operation Ahuja was himself hit by a surface-to-air missile and he had to eject himself out of the plane. Pakistan had returned Ahuja’s dead body to India which bore two-point-blank bullet wounds indicating that he was captured alive but was shot after.
This was referred to as a cold-blooded murder by the enemy troops, and a Vir Chakara was conferred on Ahuja posthumously on August 15,1999.
The present IAF chief Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa, incidentally was also the commanding officer of the 17 squadron, in which Ahuja was a flight commander during the 1999 conflict.
Nachiketa, who was 26 years old then, was taken captive by the Pak forces and later tortured in private. He was then paraded around the city. Nachiketa was out on patroling the Kaksar area of Kargil along with 5 other soldiers. They were caught by the army intruders well within the Indian side of the LOC.
The three IAF personnel were held captive for over 22 days and faced torture by the enemy troops which became evident when their bodies came back to India with their private parts mutilated, eyes gorged out, limbs chopped off and multiple cigarette burns.
Now, Pakistan’s track record in the handling of war prisoners has been anything but decent. Let’s hope Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and another pilot (whose name is yet to be disclosed) reportedly being treated at an undisclosed hospital in Pakistan return home in good health.
Stay tuned to Sakshipost for updates.