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Hijacking of IC 814
Sequence of Events, Christmas Eve 1999 to New Year's Eve 2000
About 1700 Hrs IST IC-814 VT EDW, A- 300 soon after entering Indian airspace, the aircraft was hijacked over Lucknow.
The aircraft went to Lahore, where it was denied permission to land.
From Lahore, the aircraft returned to Indian airspace, and landed at Raja Sansi International Airport, Amritsar, around 1900 Hrs.
Meanwhile, the news of the hijack has spread.
The passengers were made to change their seats on board.
The Crisis Management Group of the Cabinet met soon after the first information tricked in, and about 1830 Hrs, the National Security Guards (NSG) was ordered to Amritsar.
However, the NSG could only fly out by 1955 Hrs, by then, the aircraft had already taken off from Amritsar.
What actually happened at Amritsar?
The Punjab CMG, Crisis Management Group swung into action, soon after the news of the hijacking.
Then DIG Amritsar was on record, that orders from Delhi was, "impose as much of a delay as possible."
Police had cordoned the airport, not the aircraft.
In absence of trained commandos, the option was to physically
block the runway. A fuel bowser was despatched with aim of preventing take off, and he took off at full speed.
ATC asked him to slow down, and he screeched to a halt
Pandemonium broke out and the hijackers realised something was amiss, and insisted immediate take off.
Capt Devi Sharan had no choice but to obey, and took off, narrowly missing the tanker in his path by inches.
IC - 814 was at Amritsar tarmac for a good 48 mins.
The Only reaction on part of Indian authorities at Amritsar was to send a tanker to block the runway, which was unsuccessful.
Due to chain of events, and the panic among the hijackers, they stabbed to death Rupin Katyal, as a message to fellow passengers
This was 24 Dec 1999
Again, the aircraft attempted a landing at Lahore, and this time IC 814 landed at Lahore a little past 2000 Hrs, for fuel and food.
IC 814 took off again around 2230 Hrs, this time for Kabul, Afghanistan. (IC 814 was at Lahore for over two and half hours)
The Taliban was the ruling entity in Afghanistan at that time, and they refused permission.
From Kabul, IC 814 head to Muscat, Oman, and there again it was refused permission to land.
It was around 0330 Hours IST, (25 Dec 1999) IC-814 running low on fuel, landed at Al Manhad Airbase, in Dubai.
At Dubai, nay, Al Manhad Airbase was present Crown Prince and Defence Minister of UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Al Maktoum and Indian Consul General in Dubai.
The aircraft was refuelled, 27 passengers (11 Children) in exchange for fuel, and the body of Rupin Katyal was off-loaded.
IC 814 landed Al Manhad Airbase at 1202 (local) 0130 Hrs, NOT 0330 (IST)
The aircraft was refuelled, passenger released.
Here's an international television news item.
IC 814 was at Al Manhad Airbase, Dubai for about two hours.
Incidentally, Govt of India had reached out to the Americans, and in fact, a US Navy Seal onboard USS John F Kennedy was anchored at Dubai.
The SEALS were put on Alert by Adm E Johnson about a possible rescue mission.
The Authorities in Dubai refused permission to the US Navy Seals.
Refuelled, passengers released (incl body of Rupin Katyal), IC 814 was asked to bugger off, (not in as many words) from Al Manhad Airbase, Dubai.
From Al Manhad Airbase, IC 814 landed at Kandahar, early morning 25 December 1999, 0830 Hrs IST.
Between 25 December 1999 till the release of the aircraft and the hostages on 31 December 1999, it was a cat and mouse game between New Delhi, Kandahar and Rawalpindi.
What followed in Kandahar-
The arrival of Indian Negotiating Team- From Foreign Office, Bureau and Agency, the parlays in New Delhi to save our people:
Easy to blame individuals for this and that.
Then Govt of India did what it could, to save our people!
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