Retired Indian Air Force fighter pilot Singhakutty Varathaman, father of Wing Commander Abhinandan who has been taken prisoner by the Pakistani army as his plane crashed in their territory after an air duel over the Line of Control, said in a statement: “Abhi is a true soldier and is safe. Pray he is not tortured.
Police provided security to his home in Chennai and top political leaders including former DMK Union Minister T R Baalu and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) general secretary Premlatha Vijayakanth called on his parents to show that the country was with them.
Retired Air Marshal Wing Commander Varthaman said in a statement: “Thank you, my friends, for your concern and wishes. I thank God for his blessings, Abhi is alive, not injured, sound in mind; just look at the way he talked so bravely...a true soldier...we are so proud of him’.
“I pray that he does not get tortured, and comes home safe in sound in body and mind. Thank you all for being with us in this hour of need. We draw our strengths from your support and energy,” Air Marshal Varthaman said.
Retired Army Colonel Sundar said that under the Geneva Convention, a prisoner of war was free to answer only three questions-- his name, rank and unit. All armed forces personnel were trained on how they should conduct themselves if they were taken prisoner in a war.” They are trained to be brave, but polite and answer only questions relating to their name and rank and nothing else’.
Commenting on the video released by Pakistan and circulating in the social media, Col Sundar said Abhinandan had lived up to his surname “Singhakutty”( which means lion cub)
T R Balu said India should ensure that Abhinandan was treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention and India should strive for his early return. Premlatha said three generations of Abhinandan's family had served in the armed forces.
She said “I was moved when his mother said ‘I am a proud of him”. She added: “As a mother I can understand her feelings and this is a defining movement for the whole of India to stand as one in praying for his safe return”.