IC-814 hijack case: An Unfinished Task, Main culprits are free

IC-814 hijack case: An Unfinished Task Main culprits are free

       A CBI court in Patiala has sentenced all three accused in the IC-814 hijacking case of 1999 to life imprisonment.

      Abdul Latif, Yusuf Nepali and Dilip Kumar Bhujel have been charged under anti hijacking law and also for attempt to murder, conspiracy and abduction.

      But the masterminds of the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar have never been caught. Maulana Masood and two others were let off in exchange for hostages.

     Earlier, BS Lodhi, defence lawyer had said, ”Hands of judicial officers are tied when no accused is arrested or produced before the court for the purpose of trial. It is difficult for the court to pass an order against those persons who are abandoning in the case.”

     The weeklong hijack drama ended with the release of three dreaded terrorists Masood Azhar Mushtaq, Ahmed Zargar and Sheikh Ahmed Omar Saeed.

      All 189 on board were let off safely, except two, Rupen Katyal was killed by the hijackers on day one and Satnam Singh was stabbed nine times, but survived. He later left the country. Today his family believes a trial without the main hijackers is simply meaningless.

”They couldn’t get the real hijackers. They should get them. What is the point? They should be punished,” said Bawa Singh, Satnam Singh’s father.

       Masood Azhar, the most high profile of the three freed militants, floated the Jaish-e-Mohd immediately after his release. It went on to become the most dreaded terror outfit in Jammu and Kashmir.

      Eight years after the hijacking of IC 814 intelligence inputs suggest that Mulana Masood Azhar;s younger brother Ibrahim Athar, who was the principal hijacker is once again getting active, has been entrusted with the job of reenergizing and strengthen the network of Jaish-e-Mohd across the country.

       Intelligence inputs also suggest that Masood Azhar’s brother trained militants for a Jaish module in Uttar Pradesh, targeting Rahul Gandhi.

       ”Brother of Azhar Masood, who was one of the hijackers, later on played a very important role in Pakistan in fermenting militancy,” said S P Vaid, IG Police, Jammu Region.

       A verdict after eight long years for a week spent in absolute terror.

       For those who lived to tell the tale, it will be empty justice unless the main accused are brought to book.

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