Detained after his plane crashed across the Line of Control, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was beaten by locals, made to identify himself with hands tied behind his back and a rag across his injured face and finally recorded saying that he was being treated well by his captors.
Meanwhile, Abhinandan’s home at Madambakkam in Chennai was thronged by residents and VIPs who expressed their solidarity with the pilot’s family.
Three videos on social media showed the pilot display remarkable braveness, calmness and poise in custody. In one, shot in what seems like an office room where he stands with hands tied and a bloodied face, the young pilot says he is not required to reveal anything more than his name and service number and inquires who his captors are.
The whereabouts of IAF pilot Abhinandan are not known, Indian government sources said on Wednesday, hours after the Pakistan Army claimed it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested two pilots.
The Indian government on Wednesday afternoon confirmed that a MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft of the IAF and its pilot were missing after an air-to-air engagement with Pakistan Air Force jets on a bombing mission.
In the video, a calm and composed Abhinandan, having a cup of tea, says the “officers of the Pakistani army looked after him very well”.
When Abhinandan is asked which place he hails from, he replied coolly, “Am I supposed to tell you this?” and further added he is from “down south.” When asked which aircraft he was flying, Abhinandan replied, ” I am not supposed to tell you this but I am sure you have found the wreckage”. He did not answer when asked what his mission was.