Kandahar hijack suspect arrested in Kashmir
A terrorist suspected to be involved in providing logistical support in the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999 was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir but the union home minister said on Thursday the identify of the man is yet to be confirmed.
The arrested terror suspect has been identified as Mehrajuddin Dand. He was arrested from Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir.
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confirming the arrest told reporters in New Delhi: "We will come back to you after confirmation. In these cases it has to be confirmed."
Jammu and Kashmir police were quoted by media saying that the man was operating in the region for past 20 years. He reportedly received training in Pakistan.
Indian Airlines flight IC 814, which was an Airbus A300, was en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, Dec 24, 1999, when it was hijacked. Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistan-based group, was accused of the hijacking.
The aircraft was hijacked by gunmen shortly after it entered Indian airspace. After touching down in Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers forced the aircraft to land in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The hijackers released 27 of 176 passengers in Dubai but stabbed to death one young man returning from honeymoon.
The slain Indian was 27-year-old electronic engineer Rupin Katyal who was returning from honeymoon in Nepal with his wife Rachna.
India's lack of recognition of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan complicated negotiations between Indian authorities and the hijackers.
Taliban moved its well-armed fighters near the hijacked aircraft in an attempt to prevent Indian special forces from storming the aircraft.
The seven-day-old hijack drama ended only after India released three militants - Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.