Monday, January 3, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

‘Burger’ was emotional

NEW DELHI, Jan 2 (UNI) — “Chief”, “Burger”, “Doctor”, “Bhola” and “Shankar” filled terror in the minds of hostages, cajoled some of them into believing they were actually nice persons and left the plane saying there was a possibility they would meet the passengers again — shades of the Stockholm syndrome. But what was clear was that the 155 persons held prisoners feared death at every stage.

“We were always in a state of tension. They kept telling us we will be killed one by one’’, Arun Nathani told mediapersons before leaving for his home in Dehra Dun today.

Nathani, his wife and daughter and his younger brother’s family of three were on the hijacked plane, returning from a holiday in Nepal.

“My first sight of the hijackers was when one of them came rushing through the aisle, brandishing a pistol and throwing food all around. Everything else is a blur now. They blindfolded me for two days and I only knew the ordeal was over when an Indian official came aboard the plane at Kandahar’’, Nathani, who has a small electronic store in Dehra Dun said.

Two days after being set free, hostage have expressed different opinion about the five hijackers who were welltrained, very motivated and intelligent.

Emotional too, if one of the passengers, who did not want to be identified, is to be believed.

“Burger cried on my shoulder before leaving the plane’’, the Delhi-based passenger said this morning. “I am very sorry for what happened. I know God will not forgive me’’, the passenger quoted “Burger” as saying.

“Burger” is the same air pirate who gave a shawl as a present to another hostage, Pooja Kataria, who celebrated her birthday on the plane on December 27.

The passenger said he gave a speech

on the plane in which he said the passengers should sympathise with the hijackers as it was with a motive that they had conducted the hijacking.

He said the speech was intended to keep the hijackers away from harming any other hostage.

“Burger” and “Doctor” were flexible, “Bhola” rigid, “Shankar” like a robot and “chief” was always in the cockpit, according to this passenger.

But according to Daman Soni, “Doctor” was very cruel, well built and in his twenties he killed Rupen Katyal and stabbed Satnam Singh. “Doctor”, she said slapped her son. The hijackers said “Bye, see you. Allah ne chaha to phir milenge’’ before leaving the air

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