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India erupts in joy over IAF Pilot Abhinandan’s return

Amidst anxious moments extended by nearly a five-hour delay, Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan, where he was held captivate after his MiG-21 crashed and he ejected over the Pakistani-side of the LoC during the first aerial dogfight between India and Pakistan, in the last five decades.
 
Hailed for his poise and valour when he was held captive by the Pakistani men for nearly 60 hours, 38-year-old Abhinandan returned home to a rousing welcome by the entire nation on Friday night. The delay in handing over Abhinandan is reportedly due to Pakistan’s efforts to record a video wherein a “confession” was extracted from Abhinandan at an ISI facility in Lahore.  
 
The IAF Wing Commander was forced to praise Pakistan in the video, undermining Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s “gesture of peace”. The video was released to Pakistani media very quickly which is in violation of the Geneva Convention, signed both by India and Pakistan.   
 
Similarly, the video released soon after he was captured by a mob in Pakistan wherein Abhinandan  was beaten up making him bleed in the face was also in violation of the Geneva Convention, which had been framed to ensure humane treatment to individuals, who become victims of armed conflict.
 
Soon after being handed over to the BSF at the Attari-Wagah border, the IAF officials whisked him off to the airport and was flown to Delhi from Amritsar in a special aircraft. The IAF officials said as per the protocol, a medical check would be done on Varthaman, belonging to Chennai,  before declaring him fit to fly again. 
 
Following the worst ever terror attack in Pulwama, Kashmir on February 14 in which more than 40 CRPF personnel died, India struck back at Pakistan and destroyed six training camps of Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for the attack, in Balakot.
 
Nearly 12 Mirage 2000 jets of the IAF crossed the LoC, for the first time since 1971, and dropped laser-guided bombs destroying the terror camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, at 3 am on Feb. 26. Around 200-300 terrorists were supposed to be killed in the strike.
 
Yousuf Azhar, brother-in-law of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar and one of the hijackers of IC-814, may be one among those killed, according to government sources. The bombing lasted for 90 seconds and the entire operation was completed in 21 minutes.  However, India said it was not a revenge attack but a “non-military pre-emptive strike” based on intelligence inputs.

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