People gather at Attari, await return of captured pilot

Wing Commander Varthaman, son of a decorated IAF veteran, was captured by Pakistan after his jet went down following a strike by an enemy missile.

Published: 01st March 2019 01:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2019 01:29 PM   |  A+A-

Indians wave national flag and shout slogans while they wait to welcome Indian pilot at India Pakistan border at Wagah. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

ATTARI: Hundreds of people flocked the Attari border Friday to catch a glimpse of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who is expected to touch home soil after his release from Pakistan.

Wing Commander Varthaman, son of a decorated IAF veteran, was captured by Pakistan after his jet went down following a strike by an enemy missile.

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Varthaman's MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down one Pakistani F-16 fighter during a dogfight to repel a Pakistani attack on Wednesday morning.

He has been in Pakistan since then. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced in Parliament on Thursday that Varthaman would be released on Friday as a "peace gesture".

Patriotic fervour prevailed at the border with border residents singing songs, beating drums and carrying the tricolour in their hands.

Barely one-km away from the Indo-Pak border, people sang patriotic songs and raised slogans like "Bharat Mata ki Jai".

WATCH | IAF pilot Abhinandan's parents get standing ovation on board flight to Delhi

A Sikh youth from a nearby area was seen carrying a huge garland, while an elderly man was seen beating a 'dhol'.

"If permitted, I want to welcome the Wing Commander with this garland," said the youth carrying garland. Security arrangements have been further strengthened here, with Punjab Police personnel also deployed in numbers.

Amritsar's Senior Deputy Mayor Raman Bakshi, who was also present here, could not stop himself from singing patriotic songs.

Raising pro-India slogans, a group of youths sang the popular patriotic song, "Is desh ke yaaron kya kehna, yeah desh hai veer jawanoon ka". (The slogan roughly translates to - What should I say about this country my friends! This country if of brave soldiers.)

Many youths among the crowd said Pakistan should stop aiding and abetting terror or else be prepared to face consequences.

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