No announcement yet.

From Nepali media

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    From Nepali media

    From Nepali media

    The Hijackers Could Have Killed Me’ ­ Gajendra Tamrakar

    Among the 178 passengers who remained hostages in the hijacked Indian Airlines flight 1C 814 for eight days, one name became prominent. And it was because he was accused as one of the five hijackers of the Indian Airliner by the Indian media, mainly the Zee news channel. But when the hijack ordeal was over, the truth came out: Gajendra Tamrakar was one of the hostages, and not a hijacker, to walk out of the plane. He spoke to SPOTLIGHT about his experience onboard IC 814. Excerpts:
    Did you know you were labeled as one of the hijackers while you were still onboard?

    As long as we remained hostages, I knew nothing about it. After being freed, an official of Nepalese Embassy in Islamabad told me about the accusation.
    How did the hijacking begin?

    Few of the passengers including me had finished our meal. All of a sudden, two of the hijackers kicked the food and beverages trolley being used by airhostesses. Both of them were masked and were shouting "Heads down! Move, move!"
    What was your reaction?

    At first, I could not believe that such a thin person could be a hijacker. But, a passenger next to me who had already bowed his head explained to me the situation. By that time I could see one of the hijackers scaring passengers with a small knife.

    How long were you kept blindfolded?
    At first they made the air hostesses tie the seat cover of our seats around our eyes. There were fixed times when we had to remain blindfolded. At other times, if we continued keeping the piece of cloth around our eyes, the hijackers in our compartment would tease us saying that we looked like dacoits.

    So friendly were the hijackers?
    In the beginning, I did not get that impression since one of them grabbed me by collar and asked who I was. I think he did so looking at my big size. I don't know what he might have done to me if I had not shown my identity card. They could have killed me.

    How hard was it to pass the time?
    In the first few days, it was very hard. We had to keep our heads down, at times blindfolded. We were not even allowed to talk with each other. Sometimes, passengers would pass out urine on their seat. As a result, we could see urine flowing below our seats. The real hard time was when we did not know where we were and what the hijackers were going to do to us.

    How did they look?
    We could never see their faces since they were masked all the time. But what we noticed was that they kept on exchanging their dresses they wore. The one who was in command among the five hijackers initially had put on a red cap and was wearing a simple shirt. He was carrying a grenade in one hand while a small pistol in the other. Almost all of them loved children and gave them chocolates. They respected ladies.

    You were hostage for eight days. Did the passengers not get along with one another?
    We did. In the last few days, we were allowed to crack jokes, and do acting over mike. I was one of those to share jokes quite frequently. While cracking one of the jokes, I made the passengers laugh so heartily that one of the hijckaers came and hit me with his pistol saying "Do you think it's a joke?"

    There were 178 passengers and only five hijackers. As hostages did you all not feel like taking on the hijackers?
    You must understand that there is a big difference between real life and movies. It was not as easy as in movies that show heroes easily tackling with hijackers. We knew we were held hostages by armed hijackers. Any false move on our part would mean death.

    ‘Hijackers Said It Was The Millennium Flight’ Rojina Pathak

    Rojina Pathak, who was one of the hostages in the IC 814 flight, had an extra reason to be nervous when the aircraft was hijacked in the Indian airspace almost 40 minutes after it took off from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmanmdu. It was her first ever flight. The freshly married Pathak told SPOTLIGHT how did she feel as a hostage:

    How afraid were you?
    I was so terrorized. I have no words to explain how I felt when the aircraft was under the hijackers' control. Moreover, as a newly married person, I was more nervous. I could see fear in my husband's face. The hijackers were saying it was the last flight of the millennium and that made me feel more insecure. It was my first flight.

    When do you think the terrorism inside the aircraft reached the climax?
    It was one day before we all were released. That day the hijackers said that the dialogue between them and the Indian government had failed to reach into an agreement. And so, they had decided to kill us one by one. They even asked us to pray for the last time.

    How hard was it for you physically?
    It was very hard to remain seated in one seat for eight days. But more than the physical hardship, it was the mental torture we had to undergo that caused the pain.

    Any particular event you would remember most when you think about the hijack?
    Once I washed my face and found that I had wiped out my tika. As a newly married girl, I wanted to put the tika once again. When I asked my husband, who was sitting beside me, to put the tika, I could see tears in his face. I was really touched by the sight. With the help of my lipstick, he did put tika on my forehead. That was the moment I really will alsways remember.

    Did you hear the hijackers talking?
    We used to hear them speaking Hindi. They used to say they were form Kashmir and they also sometimes used to explain why they were hijacking the plane. But since I was least bothered about their mission, I never tried to understand what they were trying to say.

    How was their behavior?
    They were very kind. They were quite respectful to ladies. They could have done anything if they wanted to.

    And how were the airhostesses?
    I have no words for their courage. Even during such terrorized condition, they were all the time smiling and serving us.
    Is Nepal becoming a play-ground of terrorists?

    The first hijacking of a plane on international flight from Nepal has laid bare the negligence and carelessness of the security system at the Tribhuvan International Airport. When even Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai has accepted the laxity of the security at the TIA, Home Minister Purna Bahadur Khadka is trying to cover up the shame of the security agencies.
    But as soon as Premier Bhattarai has accept the shortcoming about security at the airport, the responsibility of security at the airport has been taken up by the army. Apart from the 300 police, detectives of the National Investigation Department are also involved in security. Apart from that passengers are now made to through metal detector and even hand held metal detectors are also employed.
    However, how the hijackers could pass through the custom, revenue investigation and immigration, which are always teeming with crowd, has wracked the brain of everybody.
    Although it is now almost clear that the 6 armed hijackers could pass through the airport, the Home Minister and police IGP are trying to cover up their weaknesses by saying that everything was all right.
    According to the Indian Airlines office in Kathmandu, of the 178 passengers of the hijacked Indian Airline plane there were four passengers with Muslim names \emdash Kazi S.A., Saiyad S.A., Mo. Mustaq Ahmad and S
    Sheikh A.M. and two other hijackers may have been travelling under some Hindu names. The Indian Zee television on Saturday even said that one of the hijackers could be a Nepali.
    Meanwhile, the US intelligence agency CIA has three months before had notified India about the possibility of plane hijacking and had cautioned to take precaution. According to a Home Ministry source, Nepal was also notified by the CIA.

    Involvement of Indian Airlines officials!
    Any foreign airlines after landing at the Kathmandu airport spend at least 40 to 50 minutes before taking off again. But last Friday, the Indian Airlines plane had taken off after only 25 minutes later. According to airport sources, there was no record of the Indian Airlines taking off within 40 minutes. The plane which had come three hours later, but had taken off so quickly is also being seen with suspicion. It has even raised question of whether any person lined with the Indian Airlines itself is involved with the hijacking.

    How the arms might have entered the plane?
    The trend of hijacking shows that no hijacker wants take the risk of trying to enter the plane with the arms. This shows either the arms were already there when it came to Kathmandu or the arms were smuggled into the plane in Kathmandu. This clearly shows
    that if the arms were taken into the plane in Kathmandu, the hijackers must have got into the confidence catering or the security personnel. It is even rumoured that someone in the security are involved in the conspiracy.
    Meanwhile, the government has taken prompt action. The cabinet has already held two meetings and an investigation commission has also been formed. The government has also suspended the duty office at the custom, immigration, intelligence, revenue investigation, police and airport staff who were at their duties when the Indian plane has flown. Similarly, four other staff have been taken into custody.
    Among the hijackers, the tickets of three - Mustaq Kazi, Saiyad and Sheikh - were re-confirmed by the World Tours and Travel owned by Makbul Lari, who also owns the Everest Hotel. One source even doubted that they might be given shelter by Lari in Kathmandu.
    However, this incidence as given more ground to the Indian accusation that the ISI agents are making Nepal their playground for anti-India activities.