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IC 814 hijack: 10 years on, Rachna speaks out

CNN-IBN
Dec 24, 2009 at 10:08pm IST

New Delhi: Ten years ago on this day the IC 814 hijacking took place. An Indian Airlines plane with 174 passengers and 11 crew members onboard was taken over by terrorists and a passenger was brutally killed.

Five Harkat-ul-Mujahideen terrorists hijacked the flight shortly after it took off from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on December 24, 1999. After landing the plane at Amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijackers finally forced it to land at Kandahar in Afghanistan which was ruled by the Taliban at that time.

The hijack drama lasted for seven days and ended with a negotiation. India released three dreaded militants – Maulana Masood Azhar, Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh in exchange for the hostages.

Rupin Katyal, a 27-year-old electronic engineer from Chandigarh and his wife Rachna, had gone to Nepal to spend their honeymoon there. On their way back in the flight Rupin was stabbed to death by the hijackers.

His wife Rachna remained a hostage till the end of the crisis not aware that her husband had been killed. Speaking out for the first time in a television interview with CNN-IBN, she said, “I want to remember the good time. I had no idea that he was stabbed. I don’t know why it happened to me.”

A decade after the stunning hijack, Nepal, whose economy was devastated by the incident, is ready to narrate its own version of the disaster.

From early 2010, Nepali film director Dayaram Dahal is planning to shoot the first Nepali film on the mid-sky drama.

(Watch Rachna’s complete interview on a special show The Kandahar Hijack at 9:30pm on Saturday on CNN-IBN)

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