The announcement by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan that Indian prisoner of war Abhinandan will be released in a day or two to de-escalate tension between the two countries has come as a relief not only to his family in Tamil Nadu but also people of his native village in Thiruvanamalai, south of Chennai.
Native of Thrupanamoor, a non-descript village in Thiruvanamalai district, Abhinandan was born and brought up in Selayur in Chennai suburb close to Tambaram air force station.
Reports from the village say that Abhinandan’s father, retired Air Marshal Singhakutty Varathaman was born there. Abhinandan visited the village when he was a boy, says a retired teacher Adhirajan(85).”
They are a Jain family and they often visit a Jain temple in Karanthai village, near Thirupanamoor, according to Adhirajan.
The entire village has come together to organise special puja in not only these two villages but also three other nearby hamlets for his safe return.
Retired Air Marshal Varthaman played crucial role in the upgradation of the Mirage 2000 fighter jets after the Kargil war of 1999. It is these upgraded jets which were used in the attack on Jaish camps in Bagalkot.
Abhinandan, who piloted the MiG21 Bison and shot down the Pakistani F16 jets along the Line of Control before craching on the Pakistani side , was trained in the air force base in Tambaram.
He has wife and two children “They are currently not staying in Selayur”, his maternal uncle has told the local media.