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Three Kashmiri youths nabbed near Attari border

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Amritsar: Three Kashmiri youths were arrested By Border Security Force (BSF) on Sunday for speeding a multi-utility vehicle (MUV) close to the international border with Pakistan.

The three men, Umar Bashir, Sajjad Ahmed and Shoaib Nissar. aged between 21 and 28, were taken into custody by the Border Security Force (BSF) soon after their speeding vehicle, a Toyota Innova, hit a road divider near outer gates of the Integrated Check Post (ICP) at the border.

All the three, after interrogation by the BSF and intelligence agencies, were handed over to Amritsar district police.

“All three are residents of Srinagar and claimed they lost their way while going from Srinagar to Delhi,” BSF deputy inspector general (DIG) told media.

He said the antecedents of the three men were being verified. They were booked for rash driving and disobeying a public servant.

The incident comes just over a month after an allegedly drunk Canada-based NRI drove his Scorpio SUV through the BSF security gates and crashed into the Pakistani gate at the zero line between both countries. The incident happened early on November. Both incidents happened from the Indian border side. The border between both the countries has high security because of strife in political relations of neighbors.(IANS)

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Did the hijack of flight IC-814 bring India to its knees?

The flight number IC-814 of the Indian Airlines, travelling from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked mid-air.

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The ill-fated flight IC-814 was destined to fly from Kathmandu to Delhi
The ill-fated flight IC-814 was destined to fly from Kathmandu to Delhi

NEW DELHI: The Christmas Eve of 1999 doesn’t go well into the books of Indian history. The whole global community was hit with the hell of a jerk when the news of a plane hijack was set out by the Indian media channels. The flight number IC-814 of the Indian Airlines, travelling from Kathmandu to New Delhi was hijacked mid-air. At the time of the hijack, the airline was carrying 178 passengers and 11 crew members on board, after it took-off from the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.

This incident shattered the whole Indian Intelligence wing and questions were already raised on the credibility of R&AW agency. R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) is the external intelligence unit of India and looks up for the foreign threat counts. But after the hijack of IC-814, every available resource was scrambled to contain the situation which was already out of hand.

Till date, there are a lot of unanswered questions as to why there was no show up of NSG commandos when the aircraft landed at Amritsar and the time was ripe enough to launch a counter-attack on the hijackers.

An article by a profound writer and columnist, Kanchan Gupta has rightly concluded in one of his articles on Kandahar hijack that India standout to be a nation of cowards. When it mattered the most, Indian people turned out in their true colours and let the nation down by surrendering in front of the hijackers.

Prime Minister Atal Beharai Vajpayee thoroughly counted every possible option at his disposal
Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee thoroughly checked all the possible options at his disposal

The initial impact

During this mishappening, NDA government was in the centre and till date is held responsible for such a huge goof-up. The then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was in mid-air at the time of the hijack and from the time of the hijack incident, he was informed almost after two hours. The lag in the communication is blamed on the lack of satellite phones at that time.

The moment Vajpayee landed at the Palam Air Base, National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra broke the news of plane hijack.

Vajpayee was taken aback by it and called for an emergency meeting with his security advisor and cabinet ministers. He also called off his birthday and Christmas celebrations, scheduled for that evening.

Later, the five hijackers were identified as Ibrahim Athar, Shahid Akhtar Sayed, Gulshan Iqbal, Sunny Ahmed Qazi, Mistri Zahoor Ibrahim, and Shakir. All of them were found to be the residents of Pakistan and belonged to a dreaded militant organization.

Hijacking ordeal

Just after few moments of the takeoff of flight IC-814, militants hijacked the plane and diverted it to Lahore airport but they were denied permission to land at the airport. Then they head towards Amritsar after realizing that the flight was running low on fuel. The Amritsar’s airport, Raja Sansi Airport was immediately alerted about the hijack and directed to prevent the plane from taking off after the planes landing.

The hijackers demanded the refueling of the plane but it was blatantly rejected by the Indian officials and the aircraft stayed there for another forty-five minutes. Soon hijackers got suspicious and expected a commando attack, so they stabbed a passenger and forced the flight to take off with an almost empty tank. Then the under pressure pilots took off from there and attempted another landing at Lahore airport, even after the denial of permission from Pakistan’s airport authority. But with sheer courage and skill, both the flight pilots of IC-814 landed the plane safely at the landing strip and parked it in the airport’s bay area.

After the refueling of the aircraft by the Pakistani authority, hijackers took off from there and flew to Dubai airport. Dubai officials permitted them to land there and in return, successfully negotiated the release of 13 women and 11 children. The next morning, the plane took off for Afghanistan and landed at Kandahar Airport, at that time which was under the direct control of the terrorist organization.

Demand for ransom

On holding their fort at Kandahar airport, the hijackers demanded the release of 36 terrorists held in Indian prisons in return for safe passage for the people onboard. After hours of herculean negotiations by the security officials, Indian government stumbled upon a deal with them and finally agreed to release three terrorists in exchange for all the hostages. The name of terrorist to be freed included Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, and Ahmed Omar Sheikh.

Within no time, the paperwork was done in order to release the terrorists and they were flown to Kandahar airport.

Finally, after suffering of five stressful day, people were relieved from the captivity of the hijackers
Finally, after suffering for five stressful days, people were relieved from the captivity of the hijackers

Moment of sigh

After that, two aircrafts left for Kandahar airport and Indian officials made the exchange. On the evening of 31st December, hostages of flight IC-814 were flown back to Delhi and a sense of relief prevailed in the Indian government and its people. But, soon the NDA government came under intense fire from various political parties.

Following this incident, India didn’t take much time to learn from this blunder and till date, it is made sure that nothing sort of that magnitude occurs ever. Although, there are still many unresolved mysteries going around in the minds of the people, but no one is up to take the responsibility for such a gaffe. Even the presence of an R&AW agent in the hijacked plane is a matter of contention. Reports suggest that R&AW officials were tipped prior to the hijack but were rashly rebuffed.

Irrespective of all the fuss, the unchallenged credit goes to the people involved in this whole incident and we salute to the bravery and courage put up by the flight pilots and the people on board.

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5 Events Of November Which Are Ideal For Family Vacations

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Events in November which will give you a vacation mood.
Events in November which will give you a vacation mood. Wikimedia.

As we approach the year’s end, Indians not just bid adieu to their summer outfits but also welcome the festival seasons. October and November are two months in India which are full of cultural events and festivals, which make these months, the ideal time for going on family vacations.

Below are the events of November 2017 which you will regret missing. They are worth the try for family vacations:

1.  Dev Deepavali, Varanasi

family vacations
Representational Image. The ghat of holy city Varanasi. 

Varanasi, the holiest city of India, celebrated Dev Deepavali on Kartik Poornima every year. The festival is celebrated with joy. The ghats of Varanasi are lit with beautiful diyas (earthen lamps). God is believed to have descended to the banks of Ganges, to take a holy dip. The festival will take place on November 3, 2017.

 2. Dharamsala International Film Festival

Filmmaker, cinema buffs or all those people interested in the art of films come together of Dharamsala International Film Festival (DIFF). This film festival will witness filmmakers coming from different regions to show films on various issues- socially relevant, contemporary etc. DIFF will take place from November 2 to November 5. If you are a movie buff, then you should immediately pack your bags and seal a date for attending the festival.

3. Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan

Family vacations
Representational Image. Camel Fair is celebrated in Pushkar. Pixabay

Pushkar Camel fair, a cattle fair, in Pushkar which truly defines the real meaning of culture. The Pushkar Camel Fair has been in tradition for a very long time. The fair attracts a huge crowd every year. One of the most ideal and happy places for family vacations. It will take place between 23rd October to 4th November.

Also Read: 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In North East India

4. NH7 Weekender

The five seasons old Indian multi-city music festival has indeed garnered a lot of attention and love from the musically inclined youngsters across the country. It is a combination of national and international studies coming together. In Meghalaya, the event will take place from October 27 to October 28.

5. Guru Purab

family vacations
Sikhs celebrating Guru Purab. Wikimedia.

Guru Purab, one of the most important festivals for Sikhs. The golden temple celebrates it with a lot of joy. The celebration which Amritsar witnesses at this time are unbelievable. It will take place on November 2017. Golden temple is indeed one of the best places for family vacations.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.

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Pakistan releases 78 Indians imprisoned in Karachi Jail

Seventy-seven Indian fishermen and a person from Bihar, who were imprisoned in a Karachi jail, returned to India after being released by Pakistan

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India and Pakistan
India and Pakistan. Wikimedia.
  • Pakistan released seventy-seven Indian fishermen and a person from Bihar, who were imprisoned in a Karachi jail
  • Yesterday the 78 prisoners were handed over by Pakistan to the Border Security Force (BSF) at a joint check post at Attari/Wagah border in a goodwill gesture
  • The Indian fishermen were arrested when their boats ended up in Pakistan’s waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where they were surrounded and later caught by the coast guards

Amritsar, July 11, 2017: Pakistan released seventy-seven Indian fishermen and a person from Bihar, who were imprisoned in a Karachi jail and allowed them to return to India.

Yesterday the 78 prisoners were handed over by Pakistan to the Border Security Force (BSF) at a joint check post at Attari/Wagah border in a goodwill gesture. They crossed over to India using the land transit route on the basis of Emergency Travel Certificates issued by the Indian High Commission based at Islamabad.

Last year in May, the Indian fishermen were arrested when their boats ended up in Pakistan’s waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where they were surrounded and later caught by the coast guards, mentioned PTI report.

A team of Indian doctors conducted medical check-ups immediately after the repatriation of the released civilians, officials posted at Attari Border on the Indian side stated yesterday.

ALSO READ: Growing Nuclear Weapons Increase Concerns About Possible Pakistan-India War

It was an emotional homecoming for the group. The moment they crossed over to their motherland, they expressed happiness and gratitude by bowing their heads and kissing the Indian soil.

However, an expression of anxiety was reflected by the faces of the fishermen when they talked about their uncertain future as their boats still remain in the custody of Pakistan, mentioned the PTI report.

The cost of a boat usually varies from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, depending on its size and quality. Most of the fishermen added that they were already debt-ridden before their arrest as they purchased the boats with the help of loans. Now their current situation would make them jobless.

According to the fishermen, identifying the territorial waters and borders during fishing in the Arabian sea was difficult.

There have been frequent cases where Fishermen have been taken under arrest along with their boats by both India and Pakistan. The reasons behind that are nothing but the poorly defined maritime border in the Arabian Sea and the lack of needed technology to ascertain their precise location in the boats used.

prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang