Vir Chakra for Wing Commander Abhinandan: His complete journey from capture to release

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Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman of the Indian Air Force was conferred Vir Chakra, India’s third-highest wartime medal, on Independence Day 2019 for shooting down a Pakistan F-16 during air-skirmish between the Indian Air Force and Pakistan Air Force on February 27, a day after Balakot strikes. He returned safely after being held captive by Pakistan.

A graduate of the National Defence Academy, Abhinandan got commissioned in 2004 as a fighter pilot. He was later promoted to Wing Commander and was assigned to the MiG-21 Bison squadron. He is the only pilot to have destroyed an advanced PAK F-16 fighter jet with an IAF MiG21 fighter plane.

Know the complete journey of Wing Commander Abhinandan from capture to release.Journey of Wing Commander Abhinandan from capture to release

Journey of Wing Commander Abhinandan from capture to release

  • On February 27, 2019, while retaliating to the intrusion of the Pakistan Air Force in India, his aircraft MiG-21 Bison crashed and he fell in the Pakistani territory.  Seconds before his craft was shot, he had shot down Pakistani F-16. 
  • As he fell down from his Parachute, he had no idea if he had fallen in the Indian territory or Pakistan. He started calling “Long live India”, to which the people of Pakistani reverted “Long live Pakistan”.
  • Soon after, many Pakistani commoners were ready to hit him with stones and he ran half a kilometer to protect himself.

Must Read: Quotes on Abhinandan

  • He even shot in the air to scare people away, but the mob became even more furious. Abhinandan then fell into a pond where the mob captured him and started beating him. He shot another fire in the air but one of the commoners, who was also carrying a pistol hit him in the knee and he fell down.
  • Abhinandan then threw away his pistol and quickly ate away some papers he was carrying in his pocket so as they do not fall into the hands of the enemy.

Journey of Wing Commander Abhinandan from capture to release

  • He was then taken into custody by the Pakistan army.
  • Such an act was a violation of the Geneva act of 1949.
  • After his capture, India didn’t agree on any deal but asked for an immediate return of the Indian Wing Commander.
  • There were some videos showing his capture and ill-treatment by the mob were released by Pakistan, which were later taken off from the Internet. In this regard, Indian Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “In the light of the situation prevailing in the country.
  • Amid mounting pressure from India and other big countries around the world, Pakistan was forced to ensure a safe release of Abhinandan on March 1, 2019.

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  • Wing Commander Abhinandan arrived in India through the Attari border, Amritsar. From there he was taken to the Amritsar airport for his onward flight to New Delhi with Senior Officials of Indian Airforce and his parents. Prayers of Millions of Indians and the efforts of the Indian Govt. finally bore fruit and led to the safe return of the IAF pilot.
  • He was initially brought from Islamabad to Lahore from where he was brought to the Attari Border. Hundreds of Indians were enthusiastically waiting to welcome WC Abhinandan.
  • During his captivity, BSF Daily Retreat and flag-lowering ceremonies were cancelled at the Attari-Wagah border front. The BSF didn’t want to perform the ceremony until the IAF pilot returns back safe to his motherland.
  • He was later awarded the Vir Chakra gallantry award in August 2019.

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