IC 814 Hijacked: The Inside Story
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What was the intelligence failure that led to the hijacking of Indian Airlines’ flight IC-814 from Kathmandu on 24 December 1999? Could the aircraft have been stopped at Amritsar airport? Was a commando raid planned on the aircraft? How was Rupin Katyal killed? Was the plane’s destination always intended to be Kandahar? Was it merely prophetic that the hijackers had predicted the end of all negotiations on the millennium eve? These and other questions are answered in this blow-by-blow eyewitness account by Flt. Engineer Anil K. Jaggia, who breaks the silence around the hijacking with investigative journalist Saurabh Shukla of the Indian Express.



Publié par
Date de parution 07 juin 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9788195124893
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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This digital edition published in India, 2021
The Lotus Collection
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© Anil K. Jaggia 2000
© Saurabh Shukla 2000
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eISBN: 978-81-951248-9-3
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On 24 December 1999, the passengers and crew of Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 were taken hostage by a group of five hijackers. As the nation watched the horror unfold, three passengers were stabbed. Two of them survived their injuries, but Rupin Katyal succumbed to this brutal act of terrorism.
This book is dedicated to the memory of his tragic death that robbed a father of an only son, and a bride of her twenty-day-old husband.
I would like to sincerely acknowledge the constant help and encouragement extended by my wife, Kusum and daughters Anupama and Aparna; my mother Shanti Jaggia for her blessings, and my nephew Manoj for his help. Special thanks are due to Madhu Dayal, S.S. Panesar, Y.K. Singh, O.P. Mahendroo, S.N. Nigam, D. Sharan, R.N. Tandon, Rajinder Kumar, Anil Sharma, M.P. Aggarwal and my dear friends and colleagues at Indian Airlines. My gratitude to Kishore Singh for his expert editing and my appreciation to Pramod Kapoor and his entire team at Roli Books.
– Anil Jaggia
I would like to thank Ma and Papa for showing me the way, Chhaya and Devendra Narain for their constant encouragement, Prriti for bringing out the best in me, and Shweta and Anup for their support.
Thanks are also due to all those senior colleagues at the Indian Express and friends who gave their valuable insights, to Dr Amitabh Mattoo for his useful comments on the draft, to the entire team at Roli Books that burned the midnight oil with us, and especially to Pramod Kapoor for ensuring that the book came out in record time. A special thanks to Kishore Singh for giving the book its final shape.
– Saurabh Shukla
IC 814: The Inside View
Red Cap and Burger were allocated executive class seats 2B and 3A.
Doctor, Bhola and Shankar were booked on seats 8C, 19G and 23G. In the map, these are identified as spots A, B, C, D and E.
The original seating for Rupin and Rachna Katyal (F and G), and David Johnson (H) was soon changed. The stabbings occurred in the executive class cabin. Later, the executive class cabin was used to contain the passengers’ hand baggage and as a dispensary.
In Kandahar, the flight crew was usually made to sit in rows 9 and 10 in the front of the economy cabin, identified as J and K.

Cockpit seating
When Red Cap forced his entry into the cockpit, he stood behind the Captain’s seat. After take-off from Lahore, he sat in the Observer’s seat. After landing at Kandahar, he used the cockpit as his office, usually sitting in the Captain’s chair.


December 24, 1999

Two men came running down the aisle. “They kept shouting ‘Heads down, heads down’,” Subhash Kumar remembers with a shudder. Most passengers did not have time to react in their consternation, and so the hijackers began slapping them across their faces. Within moments, the cabin had been subdued.
On board IC 813 to Kathmandu
“Captain, doors armed, passengers briefed and strapped,” the cabin reported to the cockpit. “May I have the flight time, Sir?”
Captain Devi Sharan, who was piloting flight IC 813 to Kathmandu, responded: “One hour and thirty minutes. Please expedite your safety announcements.”
Co-pilot Rajinder Kumar spoke into the radio telephone with Delhi Ground Control: “Indian Airlines 813 ready to push back and starting.”
Ground Control: “Clear to push back and start facing east.”
Captain Sharan: “Brakes off, commence push back facing east.”
Flight IC 813 taxied towards runway 28 at Palam, preparatory to take-off, two hours and forty minutes behind schedule.
Excitement tinged the air, for it was, after all, the last week of the millennium. People all around the world were preparing to party the entire week. The next day would be the last Christmas of the millennium. The difference was tangible: in the way that people walked and looked at you, and in the manner in which even the normally suspicious Customs officials were strangely amiable.
We were not to know then that a totally different kind of excitement lay ahead of us: one that would severely test our patience and show us just how fragile our lives were. In a few hours from now, we would be offered a choice between disaster and death.
The crisp morning, however, gave us no clue to what lay ahead.
The previous evening, before boarding the flight to Hyderabad, I had promised my two daughters that we would spend Christmas eve together at home. In fact, I had even asked the younger of the two to pick up a suit from Karan Sabri of Villa Appearances.
“You will never change your tailor, will you?” my daughter had laughed, and I’d replied: “Darling, he’s one of the few tailors who gives me a good fit.”
After the layover at Hyderabad, I’d flown back this morning and was listed for another flight. New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport was exceedingly crowded – diplomats, tourists, businessmen, executives and students were heading back to their countries, while returning Indians were arriving in droves with their Christmas shopping.
I reported for duty at flight operations at Palam, and was told that I would be flying with Captain Devi Sharan and co-pilot Rajinder Kumar, the same team that had operated IC 939 back from Hyderabad. Seven of the eight cabin crew were also the same with only one additional crew member joining us at New Delhi. We were to fly IC 813/814 from Delhi to Kathmandu and back. Unfortunately, departure was delayed because the designated aircraft had developed an engineering snag. I did not like the delay. As a stickler for punctuality, I’m always irritated when a flight is pushed behind schedule. Besides, delayed flights mean that I have less time to spend with my wife and daughters. On the days that I come home late, my mother starts to worry. If the returning flight was very late, my daughters would grumble that I had broken my promise to them.
I was glad I had remembered to tell my wife to make sure a surprise Santa Claus was to be installed next to the Christmas tree my elder daughter had been decorating. My wife had grumbled that I was flying when, like most others, I too should have been with the family at home. “Your Operations must realise that you too have a family, and we also look forward to family get-togethers,” she had said. Even the goodbye peck on her cheek did little to improve her mood: “I’d appreciate a day off more than this,” she said tartly. When I gave my old mother a hug, she said what she always told me before I left for a flight: “Please check your aircraft properly.” In decades, her advice had never varied.
On the way to the airport, I

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