Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman displayed great bravery before he was captured by Pakistani army officials after his MiG 21 jet landed across the LoC. The Indian government on Wednesday confirmed that when Pakistani aircraft invaded Indian airspace, the Indian Air Force jets intercepted them and in that engagement, one MiG21 jet was lost and a pilot was missing. The pilot was later identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
An eyewitness, Mohammad Razzaq Chaudhry, who lived near the spot where the pilot was captured from, told Pakistan daily Dawn that he saw that two aircraft were on fire and while one of them managed to speed across the LoC, the other one burst into flames and came down to the ground. He saw a parachute descend towards the ground and the pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan, emerged safely.
Dawn reports that the pilot was equipped with a pistol and asked some youngsters around whether the place was India or Pakistan. They told him it was India. The pilot, later identified to be Wing Commander Abhinandan, reportedly shouted some slogans supporting India and told the youngsters that his 'back was broken' and that he needed some water to drink.
The slogans irked the men there, who shouted â€˜Pakistan Zindabadâ€™ in response and reportedly picked up some rocks to try and attack him.
Dawn reports that when he realised he was being chased, in an apparent effort to ensure that sensitive material was safeguarded, the pilot entered a small pond, took out some documents and maps and tried to swallow them and submerge them into the water.
Meanwhile, one of the men shot at his leg and the men then surrounded him. Some of them roughed them up, visuals of which were circulated on social media on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Pakistani army personnel arrived at the spot and stopped the youth from attacking him any further.
The pilot was then taken to an army installation, where he was questioned about his name and rank. As per visuals put out by the Pakistan Army, Wing Commander Abhinandan did not divulge any details other than his name, his rank and his religion.
The Wing Commanderâ€™s bravery and composure have gained him a lot of praise on social media with many lauding his presence of mind.
What a hero. A true soldier. Wing Co Abhinandan https://t.co/JfVVrU9eL3â€” Nitin A. Gokhale (@nitingokhale) February 28, 2019
This story in @dawn_com on how Wing Cmdr Abhinandan was captured after ejecting from his MiG 21 is quite something. "...he jumped into a small pond where he took out some documents and maps from his pockets, some of which he tried to swallow..." https://t.co/5RInMSJQiGâ€” Kabir Taneja (@KabirTaneja) February 28, 2019
#abhinandan See the professionalism of Indian Air Force. Even though brave lion was surrounded by enemy , he did not open fire on civilians. Instead he choose to fire into open air to safeguard himself. Saluate To Lion. #NationFirst#PulwamaTerroristAttackhttps://t.co/ycdx0ifS0Gâ€” Santosh Singh (@seeksans) February 28, 2019
A word by word account by a pakistani local of what happened when Abhinandan landed on the wrong side of the border. What a brave man! Salute! May he is returned to India safely by Pakistan! https://t.co/8w21XdveOIâ€” Ayush Kaushik (@AKAyushKaushik) February 28, 2019
Riveting account of the presence of mind of the IAF pilot just after he was shot down (and great reporting too)https://t.co/zhh9FMEyzMâ€” Shoaib Daniyal (@ShoaibDaniyal) February 28, 2019