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Indian Airlines Flight 814

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Indian Airlines Flight 814 commonly known as IC 814 was an Indian Airlines Airbus A300 en route from Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, India on Friday, December 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 at about 17:30 IST. 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 fatally stabbed one and wounded several others. 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 hijacking lasted for seven days and ended after India released three militants Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar.

Indian Airlines Flight 814

Taliban militia in front of the hijacked plane Hijacking summary Date Type Site December 24, 1999-January 1, 2000 Hijacking Hijacked between Kathmandu, Nepal, and Delhi, India, in Indian airspace, landed at Amritsar, India; Lahore, Pakistan; Dubai; and Kandahar, Afghanistan 178 15 17 1 (Rupin Katyal) 192 Airbus A300 Indian Airlines VT-EDW Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, Nepal Indira Gandhi International

1 Hijacking 1.1 Landing in Amritsar, India 1.2 Landing in Lahore, Pakistan 1.3 Landing in Dubai, UAE 1.4 Landing in Kandahar, Afghanistan 1.5 Negotiations 2 Aftermath 3 See also 4 References 5 External links
Passengers Crew Injuries Fatalities Survivors Aircraft type Operator Tail number


Flight origin Destination

The Indian Airlines flight 814 (VT-EDW) had 178 passengers on board (most Airport, Delhi, India of whom were Indian nationals) that were coming to India after vacationing in Nepal.[1] was hijacked on December 24, 1999, shortly after the aircraft entered Indian airspace at about 17:30 IST.[2] The identities of the hijackers according to the Indian Government were: [3] 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Ibrahim Azhar, Bahawalpur, Pakistan Shahid Akhtar Sayed, Karachi, Pakistan Sunny Ahmed Qazi, Karachi, Pakistan Mistri Zahoor Ibrahim, Karachi, Pakistan Shakir, Sukkur, Pakistan

Anil Sharma, the chief flight attendant on IC-814, later recalled that a masked, bespectacled man threatened to blow up the plane with a bomb and ordered Captain Devi Sharan to "fly west".[4] The hijackers wanted Captain Sharan to divert the aircraft over Lucknow and head towards Lahore. However, there was insufficient fuel. Captain Sharan told the hijackers that they had to land in Amritsar, India.[4]

Landing in Amritsar, India

At Amritsar, Captain Sharan requested refueling the aircraft. However, the Crisis Management Group in Delhi directed Amritsar Airport authorities to ensure that the plane was immobilised, which armed personnel of the Punjab police were already in position to try to do. They did not receive approval from New Delhi. Eventually, a fuel tanker was dispatched and instructed to block the approach of the aircraft. As the tanker sped towards the aircraft, air traffic control radioed the pilot to slow down, and the tanker immediately came to a stop. This sudden stop aroused the hijackers' suspicion and they forced the aircraft to take off immediately, without clearance from air traffic control. The aircraft missed the tanker by only a few feet and flew away [5]


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Landing in Lahore, Pakistan

Due to extremely low fuel level, the aircraft requested emergency landing in Lahore, Pakistan. Pakistan initially denied the request fearing that their country might be linked with the terrorists. Pakistan also shut down their air traffic services, thus effectively blackening the whole of Pakistan airspace for the Indian Airlines flight and switched off all lights at Lahore Airport.[6] With no help from ATC, Captain Sharan banked on his visual instincts and began descending on what he thought was a runway only to find out that it was a well-lit road and aborted landing the aircraft in time.[7] On understanding that the only other option for the aircraft was to crash land, Lahore Airport switched on its lights and allowed the aircraft to land. Lahore airport officials refueled the aircraft and allowed it to leave Lahore at 22:32 IST. Pakistani officials rejected the pilot's request to offload some women and children passengers due to tense relations with India. [8]

Landing in Dubai, UAE

The aircraft took off for Dubai where 27 passengers aboard the flight were released. [8] The hijackers also released a critically injured 25-year-old Indian male, Rupin Katyal, who was stabbed by the hijackers multiple times. Rupin had actually died before the aircraft landed in Dubai.

Landing in Kandahar, Afghanistan

After the aircraft landed in Kandahar, Taliban authorities, in an attempt to gain international recognition, agreed to cooperate with Indian authorities and took the role of mediators between the hijackers and the Indian government.[9] Since India did not recognise the Taliban regime, it dispatched an official from its High Commission in Islamabad to Kandahar. [8] India's lack of previous contact with the Taliban regime complicated the negotiating process. [10][11] However, the intention of the Taliban was under doubt after its armed fighters surrounded the aircraft. [12] The Taliban maintained that the forces were deployed in an attempt to dissuade the hijackers from killing or injuring the hostages but some analysts believe it was done to prevent an Indian military operation against the hijackers. [13][14]

Maulana Masood Azhar founded Jaish-e-Muhammed in 2000 which gained notoriety for its alleged role in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack.[15][16] Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh arrested in 2002 by Pakistani authorities for the abduction and murder of Daniel Pearl.[17][18] Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar has played an active role since release in training Islamic militants in Azad Kashmir.[19] Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who had been imprisoned in connection with the 1994 Kidnappings of Western tourists in India, went on to murder Daniel Pearl and also allegedly played a significant role in planning the September 11 attacks in the United States.[20] After the three militants landed in Kandahar, the hostages aboard the flight were freed. On December 31, 1999, the freed hostages of the Indian Airlines Flight 814 were flown back to India on a special plane.[citation needed] The three militants were later escorted by Taliban across Pakistani border. Pakistan denied that any of the militants are in Pakistan, but it was discovered later that all three terrorists Maulana Masood Azhar (living in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan), Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh (who kidnapped and killed Daniel Pearl from Lahore, Pakistan) and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar (also living in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan) were in Pakistan.

The case was investigated by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which charged 10 people out of which seven including the five hijackers were still absconding and are in Pakistan.[21] On 5 Feb 2008, a special anti hijacking Patiala House Court sentenced all three convicts namely Abdul Latif, Yusuf Nepali and Dilip Kumar Bhujel to life imprisonment. They were charged for helping the hijackers in procuring fake passports and to take weapons on board.[22] However, CBI moved Punjab and Haryana High Court demanding death penalty (instead of life imprisonment) to Abdul Latif. [21] The case is set to come up for regular hearing in high court in September 2012.[23]

See also
Air India Flight 182 Air France Flight 8969 Dawson's Field hijackings


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1. ^ "Air Hijack." [Documentary TV show] Miditech. 2. ^ Vohra, Ranbir (2000). The making of India ( id=IDKoyGjFo44C&pg=PA318&lpg=PA318&dq=indian+airlines+hijacking) . M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-0711-9. 3. ^ Indian Embassy: Identity of the hijackers. ( 4. ^ a b "How Govt lost the IC-814 hijack deal" ( . 2006-0907. Retrieved 2006-09-07. 5. ^ "Cover Story: Hijacking; ... in Amritsar, a speeding tanker causes panic" ( . 2000-01-10. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 6. ^ "Cover Story: Hijacking; ... in Lahore, there is a political sideshow" ( . 2000-01-10. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 7. ^ OpenDocument 8. ^ a b c India-Pakistan in war & peace By Jyotindra Nath Dixit ( id=XnzRttnqExUC&pg=PA24&dq=taliban+hijacking+india&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a) 9. ^ Pakistan's ISI By Srikanta Ghosh ( id=d1dGQBDrGxYC&pg=PA184&dq=india+taliban+relations+hijacking&lr=&client=firefox-a#PPA185,M1) 10. ^ The greater game By David Van Praagh ( id=kCI4492cHTEC&pg=PA405&dq=indian+airlines+hijacking+taliban&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a) 11. ^ Riedel, Bruce. "The Search for al-Qaeda", 2008 12. ^ Hijacking and Terror in Sky By Giriraj Shah ( id=G7vLJpEDztYC&pg=PA105&dq=indian+airlines+hijacking+taliban&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a) 13. ^ Inside Al Qaeda By Rohan Gunaratna ( id=rO2HY8unF_sC&pg=PA214&dq=indian+airlines+hijacking+taliban&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a) 14. ^ Hijacking and hostages By J. Paul de B. Taillon ( id=FOWlnOXhdLkC&pg=PA188&dq=indian+airlines+hijacking+taliban&as_brr=3&client=firefox-a) 15. ^ The Independent: Pakistan blamed by India for raid on parliament ( -india-for-raid-on-parliament-620439.html) 16. ^ How we missed the story By Roy Gutman ( 17. ^ "Profile: Omar Saeed Sheikh" ( . BBC News. 2002-07-16. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 18. ^ Online NewsHour Update: Pakistan Convicts Four Men in Pearl Murder - July 15, 2002 ( 19. ^ Abhinandan Mishra (2008-07-27). "India's Response To Terrorism - Are We Losing The War?" ( . Archived from [8126110902 the original] on 2008-08-04. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 20. ^ CNN Transcript "Suspected Mastermind of Pearl Killing Arrested" ( . CNN. 2001-02-07. Retrieved 2006-06-29. February 12, 2002. 21. ^ a b "CBI seeks death penalty for IC-814 hijack accused" ( . Outlook India. Oct 02, 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 22. ^ "Patiala court gives life imprisonment to IC-814 hijacking convicts" ( -814-hijacking-convicts-1202224500.html) . February 5, 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 23. ^ "Over 3 years in cold storage, case to come up for hearing in September" ( . Indian Express. Jun 01 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.

External links
Information on hijacked Indian Airlines Flight IC-814, Embassy of India ( Photographs of the Pakistani Hijackers ( My experiences aboard IC-814 ( Indian Airlines Capt. Devi Sharan was awarded the 1999 Safe Skies Award ( Aziz hand seen in Kandahar hijacking ( IC-814 hijackers free birds in Pak ( IC-814 Captain becomes a celebrity in India ( url= Hijacking description ( at the Aviation Safety Network Retrieved from "" Categories: Aviation accidents and incidents in 1999 Aircraft hijackings Aviation accidents and incidents in India Islamic terrorism in India Terrorist incidents in India in 1999 Hostage taking Indian Airlines accidents and incidents 1999 in India Accidents and incidents involving the Airbus A300


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