After the ‘missing in action’ Indian Air Force pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army after his MiG-21 Bison jet crashed on Pakistani soil, Pakistan-based newspaper Dawn claimed that a boy shot at the Indian pilot identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s leg while he was taking out some documents and maps from his pockets, some of which he tried to swallow and soaked others in water.
“A pilot equipped with a pistol emerged out of the parachute safe and sound. The Indian pilot ran a distance of half a kilometre in backward direction while pointing his pistol towards the boys who were chasing him. During this brisk movement, he fired some more gunshots in the air to frighten them but to no avail. Then he jumped into a small pond where he took out some documents and maps from his pockets, some of which he tried to swallow and soaked others in water. The boys kept on asking him to drop his weapon and in the meanwhile, one boy shot at his leg,” wrote Dawn quoting a 58-year-old political and social activist Mohammad Razzaq Chaudhry.
This report comes a day after India said it foiled an attempt by Pakistan Air Force to carry out strikes in Jammu and Kashmir by shooting down an F-16 fighter plane while losing its own MiG-21 jet after which a pilot was “missing in action”. Pakistan later claimed that the Indian pilot was in its custody.
“After landing on Pakistan’s soil, the Indian pilot asked the youngsters whether it was India or Pakistan. On this, one of them responded that it was India. Following which, the pilot shouted some slogans and asked which place exactly it was in India”, as per Dawn’s report.
“Finally, he (Abhinandan) came out and said he should not be killed. The boys got hold of him from both arms. Some of them roughed him up, in a fit of rage, while others kept on stopping them. In the meanwhile, army personnel arrived there and took him into their custody and saved him from the wrath of the youths. Thanks God, none of the furious boys shot him dead because he had given them quite a tough time,” Razzaq told Dawn.
According to Dawn’s report, the detained Indian pilot was taken to an army installation in Pakistan’s Bhimber in a convoy of military vehicles. Meanwhile, the convoy was “greeted by dozens of cheerful citizens standing on both sides of the road. They showered rose petals on the military vehicles, amid slogans like Long Live Pakistan army, Long Live Pakistan Air Force, Long Live Pakistan and Long Live Kashmir.”
On Wednesday, the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned by Ministry of External Affairs to lodge a strong protest at the unprovoked act of aggression by Pakistan against India, including violation of the Indian air space by Pakistan Air Force and targeting of Indian military posts.
“India also strongly objected to Pakistan’s vulgar display of an injured personnel of the Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Convention. It was made clear that Pakistan would be well advised to ensure that no harm comes to the Indian defence personnel in its custody. India also expects his immediate and safe return,” MEA said.