|N E W S
I N ..D E T A I L
Monday, May 31, 1999
Ahuja was shot at
NEW DELHI, May 30 The post-mortem report of Sqd Ldr Ajay Ahuja has conclusively indicated that he was tortured and shot dead at point-blank range by Pakistani troops.
The pilot of the MiG 21 Ahuja was captured alive after his aircraft was shot down by Pakistani troops with surface-to-air missile on Thursday and was later shot dead in cold blood, the post-mortem report indicates, IAF officials said.
The post-mortem of Sqd Ldr Ahuja, conducted at Srinagar Base Hospital, stated that the probable cause of death "was due to the gunshot damaging the blood vessels, internal organs leading to haemorrhage and shock."
As per the detailed post-mortem report available with The Tribune stated that "a penetrating gunshot wound, entry near right ear, exit near the external orifice of left ear with bleeding and clot."
"Gunshot wound (second) entry, 2 cm medial to right nipple, exit near left iliac crest damaging viscera like liver, interstine and peritonium," the report said, adding that Ahuja had suffered a "compound" fracture of the left knee.
The report stated that Ahuja suffered multiple punctured wounds over left and right thighs, rupture of right lung, injury to neck vessels, small intestine and left liver.
The Tribune had reported that the pilot of the MiG 21 had been shot in the head from point-blank range and that he had apparently put up strong resistance before being killed in cold blood, which has been confirmed by the post-mortem report.
The body of the pilot was handed over to the Indian authorities by Pakistani troops somewhere in the Kargil sector. It was later taken to Srinagar for post-mortem and to Bathinda for cremation with full military honours.
Sqd Ldr Ahuja was carrying out an operation close to the LoC when one of his colleagues Flt-Lt Nachiketa (Nachi) claimed that the MiG 27 he was flying had developed an engine snag. At that time Nachiketa was over the Batalik sector.
During the second strike at around 11 a.m Nachi contacted the mission leader saying that "Nachi engine flame out relighting". After a few minutes, he again called on the radio "Nachi ejecting now".
The crippled aircraft was losing height when Nachiketa ejected, hearing his R/T call, Ahuja broke away from the formation and circled over the area where Nachiketa was parachuting down.
While on the lookout Ahuja was reportedly hit by a Stinger missile. His last call was "Hercules ( Ahujas call sign), I suspect missile hit".
ISLAMABAD: Meanwhile, Pakistan today denied Indias charge that one of its pilots, Sqd Ldr Ajay Ahuja, engaged in air operations in Kargil, was killed in cold blood by Pakistani troops after he baled out and landed in the Pakistani territory.
"The Indian claim is false, malicious, concocted and a move to cover up its brutalities and mislead the public opinion," spokesman of the Inter-Services Public Relations Brig Rashid Qureshi said reacting to the Indian charges earlier in the day.
"Any prisoner of war, specially a pilot, is an important asset... and no man in his senses could think of killing him," he said.
Brig Qureshi said the
Indian authorities should have kept in mind the situation
in which Ahuja was killed when his fighter plane was shot
down. "It was like a battlefield. The Indian planes
were engaged in rocketing and artillery firing. In such a
situation, the pilot could have been killed."
Touching farewell to hero
KILLI BHISIANA (Bathinda), May 30 "Ajay you have broken your promise to return home after carrying out the task of protecting the frontiers of the country. Why have you broken the promise, wailed Alka when the coffin carrying the body of her husband, fighter pilot Ajay Ahuja was brought at the local Air Force station here today from Srinagar.
Alka, who was in consolable, said she was proud of her husband. "The hero never dies".
The body in a wooden coffin was brought to the local Air Force station from Srinagar by an Indian Air Force plane. Air Vice-Marshal A. Sen, AVSM, accompanied the body which was received by local Station Commander Rakesh Kakker, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, BJP spokesman K.L. Sharma, Mrs Laxmi Kanta Chawla, MLA, Mr Parshotam Lal, Mr Vijay Ahuja and Mr Sudhir Sachdeva, father, brother and maternal uncle of the deceased.
Ajay Ahuja, who was asked to carry out specific operations in the Kargil area in Jammu and Kashmir to push out Pakistan-backed infiltrators on May 17, the day he was promoted and took command of a squadron, moved to the Srinagar air base on the same day, two hours after he had taken the command.
He was allegedly shot dead by Pakistani soldiers when he ejected safely from his MiG 27 after a missile hit it on May 29 while he was searching for another aircraft.
"I am not satisfied with the way the BJP government is responding to the Pakistani army action in Kargil. The Indian government should take strong action against the Pakistan-backed infiltrators", said Mr Parshotam Lal, father of the deceased fighter pilot.
"He sacrificed his life so that we could live with honour. He was a brave soldier. I am proud of my son. He has done his country proud", he added.
Asked whether he would like to sent his four-year-old grandson Ankur to the armed forces, he said: "I forced Ajay to join the Indian Air Force against the wishes of other family members, but now I will not dictate anything to my grandson."
Wreaths were laid on the body of the hero on behalf of the Punjab Governor by the local Deputy Commissioner. Sub-Divisional Magistrate Gurtej Singh laid a wreath on behalf of the Chief Minister.
During his meeting with the bereaved family, Mr Badal said if Ahuja's widow wanted a job, the government would be willing to provide the same to her along with a residential plot in Punjab.
He said a statue of Ahuja would be installed at the nearby crossing on the Bhatinda-Muktsar road.
All present at the funeral burst into tears when little Ankur asked his maternal uncle: "Who is in this box", pointing his finger towards the coffin. Nobody dared to answer his query. "Where is my father? I want to salute him," he insisted.
The fighter pilot's body was cremated with full military honours. A contingent of the Air Force personnel reversed arms fired three rounds in the air and sound the last bugle before the body was consigned to the flames. Master Ankur lit the pyre.
The BJP spokesman, Mr K.L. Sharma, later talking to mediapersons, said the Central Government would lodge a protest with the Pakistani authorities if it was found that Ajay Ahuja was shot dead by Pakistan's Army.
Those who never came back
NEW DELHI, May 30 (PTI) Bodies of four Indian Air Force personnel, who were killed on Friday when their helicopter was downed by Pakistan-backed infiltrators in Drass sector of Jammu and Kashmir, were flown to Srinagar this evening.
IAF sources said the bodies of all four airmen Sqn Ldr Rajiv Pundir, Flt-Lt S. Muhilan (both pilots), Sgt R.K. Sahu and Sgt P.V.N.R. Prasad (both crew) would be flown to the Sarsawa air base by a special aircraft in Uttar Pradesh for cremation tomorrow.
While Sqn Ldr Pundir had over 3,000 hours of operational flying, Flt-Lt Muhilan had recorded 1,200 hours and was one of the best rocket shooters.
Sgt Prasad was commended for devotion to duty two years ago, while Sgt Sahu was an expert flight engineer.
Their chopper was hit by
a US-made Stinger missile when they were participating in
the operations to flush out the heavily armed intruders
in the Drass area. Their bodies were recovered by ground
troops this morning after the wreckage was spotted.
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