Abhinandan returns home to India after 48 hours in Pak custody

Chennai: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian Air Force pilot who was released by Pakistan after taking him prisoner 48 hours ago, has returned home to India.

The MiG 21 warplane that Abhinandan was piloting, was involved in chasing a Pakistani aircraft that violated Indian airspace Tuesday when it took a hit. The pilot ejected safely but was caught by the Pakistanis.

The Pakistanis released a video of a bruised Abhinandan being questioned by them. India then stood firm in demanding his release and not using him as a bargaining chip.

International pressure also began to build on Pakistan to follow Geneva Convention and return the prisoner.

Three Indian High Commission officials accompanied Abhinandan from Lahore by road to Attari-Wagah border.

There was a festive atmosphere at Wagah Border from the morning with people from different parts of India waiting to welcome ‘Abhi’ home. But the wait seemed interminable as he touched base only around 9.15 pm.

There were civilians beating drums and dancing and those waving Indian flags on the Indian side of the Wagah Border.

India had cancelled its beating retreat ceremony at Wagah to facilitate the easy entry of Abhinandan with a number of people assembled there.


NT Bureau