ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A downed Indian fighter pilot who was attacked by a mob and then paraded on video by Pakistan’s army has become a social media sensation and a hero in his homeland amid a spiraling crisis between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
With Pakistani villagers and soldiers filming his capture and captivity on Wednesday in clips that have since gone viral on social media, the pilot identified by Islamabad as Indian Wing Commander Abhi Nandan has fast emerged as the human face of the dangerous flare-up between the arch-foes.
India - Pilot - Identity - Media - Name
India has not confirmed the pilot’s identity. Indian media have given his name as Abhinandan Varthaman.
The pilot and the Indian Air Force (IAF) are at the heart of the crisis between two countries who have conducted air strikes on each other’s territory in the last two days. The United States and China have appealed for restraint.
Airman - Treatment - Hands - Pakistani - Troops
The airman’s treatment at the hands of Pakistani troops drew both condemnation and praise, while at his house in southern India supporters gathered to record messages of solidarity.
In one video posted on social media, a Pakistani soldier ankle-deep in a stream of water in the disputed Kashmir region can be seen shielding the pilot from angry villagers and shouting “enough” as they pummel his bloodied face and strike blows against his limp body.
Video - Twitter - Pakistan - Information - Ministry
In another video, posted on Twitter by Pakistan’s information ministry, the pilot is blindfolded and can be heard saying “I’ve got hurt and I would request some water”. He then reveals his name and rank before politely fending off questions from soldiers by saying: “I’m not supposed to tell...
Wake Up To Breaking News!