Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman, who is in Pakistan’s custody, tried to swallow key documents after he landed across the Line of Control on Wednesday, Pakistani daily Dawn reported, quoting a witness.
The witness told the daily that Varthaman landed in Horra’n village in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir’s Bhimber district and was chased by locals before Pakistan Army personnel took him into custody.
Mohammad Razzaq Chaudhry, a political and social activist in Horra’n village, said he had noticed two aircraft catching fire, with one moving to the Line of Control while the other burst into flames and came down. Razzaq claimed he saw a parachute approaching the ground and landed a kilometre away from his house. Razzaq said he saw the pilot emerge “safe and sound”. He said he asked youngsters in the village to capture the pilot but not to approach the wreckage until the Army arrived, according to Dawn.
According to Razzaq, the pilot was equipped with a pistol and asked the youngsters if he was in India or Pakistan. One youngster told the pilot he was in India. The pilot, who was later identified by Pakistan Army as Wing Commander Abhinandan, shouted some slogans and continued asking for the location. A youngster then replied that it was Qillan.
Some youngsters shouted slogans praising Pakistan. The pilot then fired a shot in the air as the youngsters started picking up stones. Razzaq said the pilot then ran backwards while aiming his pistol at the people chasing him, and fired some more shots in the air while moving. The pilot then jumped into a pond, took out documents and maps from his pocket and tried swallowing some and soaked a few papers in the water, reported Dawn.
Razzaq said one boy shot the pilot’s leg, following which the pilot came out of the pond and told the group that he should not be killed. A few youngsters “roughed him up, in a fit of rage”, said Razzaq.
Razzaq said Army personnel arrived in the meanwhile and took the pilot into their custody. The pilot was taken to an Army installation in Bhimber in a convoy of military vehicles.