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For the past few days, only one name has been consuming the internet — Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. “That is all I am supposed to tell you,” he had said, wounded and blindfolded. He had not known where he was, he had not been sure whether he had been captured by the Pakistani Army.
In a video of a conversation released by Pakistan, Abhinandan had not failed to maintain his composure. He had not faltered, had not looked afraid and had not panicked, despite not knowing what awaited him. Calmly, he had asked his interrogator whether he is with the Pakistani Army.
Abhinandan had been in pursuit of a Pakistani F-16 jet, engaging it with an R-73 air-to-air missile. Following the state-of-the-art Pakistani fighter being shot down, he had been forced to eject and land into the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. There, he had been captured by the Pakistani Army.
Amid the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan with a new turn of events reported almost every second, Pakistan PM Imran Khan had reiterated his peace stance towards India by announcing the release of captured Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan on Thursday, February 28. On Friday, March 1, Indians rejoiced as he came back home to serve his country yet again.
After coming back to India, however, Abhinandan claimed that although he was not physically tortured by the Pakistani Army, he had to go through “a lot of mental harassment”, reported News18. This is a serious violation of the Geneva Convention, according to which a Prisoner of War (POW) cannot be mentally or physically tortured in order to derive any kind of information from him. If he refuses to answer any questions, he cannot be insulted, threatened or made subject to any kind of unpleasant treatment. He can only be required to provide his name, date of birth, rank and service number.
Sources: After returning from Pakistan, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has informed that though he was not physically tortured by the Pakistanis; he went through a lot of mental harassment. pic.twitter.com/x7C3lFsrSR
— ANI (@ANI) March 2, 2019
Reportedly, Abhinandan briefly apprised Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman about the mental trauma he had to go through.
According to MRI reports of the pilot, he suffered spinal injury after he was forced to eject from his plane after it was shot down. For the next ten days, Abhinandan will be undergoing more treatment and check-ups at the Research and Referral Hospital In Delhi Cantonment, India Today reported. According to his medical reports, no bugs had been planted in Abhinandan’s body by Pakistan.
But neither the physical injury nor the mental trauma could bow Abhinandan down, as he told the IAS brass that he wants to return to the cockpit at the earliest. Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa said in a presser today that if the medical board declared Abhinandan fit after the treatment, he can fly again. He will be back in the cockpit if he clears the medical standards of IAF flying officers, reported Times Now.
“If he is fit to fly a fighter, then he will go back soon. If he is not fit to fly, he will become a low medical category till the time he gets his currency. He will then go back when he gets his fighter currency back,” Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said.
While trauma gets the better of even the strongest of men and women, it could not even waver slightly Abhinandan Varthaman’s confidence. The Logical Indian salutes him for being an epitome of bravery and determination.
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