Amidst the building uncertainties around an impending possibility of war between India and Pakistan, as well as growing political-military pressure owing to India's stern action against Pakistan's indolence towards terrorism breeding on their home ground, the situation has now gone even murkier with IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being held in Pakistan's captivity.
After India's early morning airstrike on three terror camps located in Pakistan and PoK on 26th February, which eliminated the terrorist camps in Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chakothi, Pakistan retaliated yesterday with aerial combat by trespassing and infiltrating the LoC.
Wing Commander Abhinandan had been one of the officers who was facing Pakistan's onslaught and defending the country, when his aircraft was attacked, and he crash landed across the LoC.
#WATCH Raveesh Kumar, MEA: One Pakistan Air Force fighter aircraft was shot down by Indian Air Force. In this engagement, we have lost one MiG 21. Pilot is missing in action. Pakistan claims he is in their custody. We are ascertaining the facts. pic.twitter.com/Bm0nVChuzF— ANI (@ANI) February 27, 2019
Soon after, a video showing a bloodied officer surfaced on social media, wherein the person stated that he was Wing Commander Abhinandan and his service number was 27981. Following this, in an official media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar confirmed the infiltration and also that a MiG 21 aircraft was lost during the engagement and that the pilot was missing in action.
Later, another video showed that the Indian pilot's wounds had been treated and he was heard saying that the Pakistani army officers were “thorough gentlemen” and are looking after him well. However, that did little to bring a calm over the nation's shared anxiety over the officer's captivity.
Social media immediately exploded with demands for the quick and safe return of Abhinandan, and #BringBackAbhinandan hashtag began to trend.
Read what people from all over the country are saying:
I'm getting calls from well meaning friends saying that let the savarna men argue it out...a Muslim name should keep low. That too a woman.
I have no intention if curbing speech and nor will I be sharing tales of threats and abuse..
I'm angry today. #BringBackAbhinandan
These are turbulent times, and in the wake of the engagement with F-16 and his capture, we salute Wing Commander Abhinandan who has been very calm under duress. We do hope there is a rescue operation currently underway to bring him home safe. #BringBackAbhinandan— Adya Mishra (@Adya_04) February 27, 2019
The only thing that matters is the safe return of our Air Force pilot. All efforts should be directed at de-escalation and ensuring his release from Pakistani custody. #BringBackAbhinandan— Akshay Marathe (@AkshayMarathe) February 27, 2019
We struck they struck. Let's end this now. #SayNoToWar
Let's put our might together to #bringBackAbhinandan. Meanwhile, do not forget this entire tragedy where we have lost 4 lives is because of one man's failures in all depts, including Kashmir. This is squarely Modi's failure.
I really hope the geneva convention is followed. I really pray and hope we get our man back. I urge the leadership of my country to please think through each and every move while Abhinandan breathes behind enemy lines #Maytheforcebewithyou #BringBackAbhinandan @adgpi @PMOIndia— Vibhor Mohla (@Vibhormohla) February 27, 2019
At this point , our attention should completely shift to Wing Commander #Abhinandan
We want him back to the country he represents , to the country he has given his everything , to the country that is praying for him.
We hope Wing Commander Abhinandan comes back home soon, safe and sound.