As Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman returned from Pakistan, celebrations began on Twitter with a host of hashtags bearing his name trending on the social media website. The masses poured their tributes to the Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot, who showed exemplary fortitude and courage while in Pakistan's captivity.
The Wing Commander shot down a Pakistani F-16--part of a package of 24 jets violating Indian air space-- before his MiG 21 was hit. He ejected in time, but his parachute drifted to the Pakistani side of the Line of Control. He was captured after being attacked by a mob.
Despite being injured, the senior pilot was not nervous in Pakistan's custody and politely refused to answer queries on his mission. A number of videos of the Wing Commander in custody were tweeted from Pakistani handles.
He is asked in one of the videos about the aircraft he was flying. "I am sorry, Major. I am not supposed to tell you this but I am sure you have found the wreckage," he replies.
What was his mission? "I am sorry, I am not supposed to tell you this".
His refusal has become a hit on social media where he is hailed as a hero for the courage he showed in Pakistan.
#AbhinandanMyHero— नादान परिंदे???????? (@Gauri_doonite) March 1, 2019
H= Hero of
I = India's
A= And a
D= Defination of
A= A strong
Welcome back sir???? we r waiting for u???? #Jaihind#AbhinandanDiwas#WelcomeBackAbhinandan#WeLoveYouAbhinandan
Pakistan Ki International Insult...— Alka... Being Myself (@ShilpaIsTheBest) March 1, 2019
MIG 21 Brave Indian Pilot shot down F-16.
Trump was so furious to know this...
He scolded Imran Khan for using F-16 against India and asked him
not to repeat this mistake..
Super Proud On You Abhinandan Sir#AbhinandanDiwas
— Abhishek oo Singh (@OoAbhisheksingh) March 1, 2019 Politicians also came out to praise the 38-year-old officer.
Politicians also welcomed his return.
Welcome back Wing Commander Abhinandan. I salute your bravery and the courage of your family.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) March 1, 2019
India is proud of you
WC Abhinandan will return home to his loved ones today. In this moment lets not forget the symbolic gesture that made it possible. And I hope for once certain media channels give praise where its due instead of indulging in petty debates. #WelcomeBackAbhinandan— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) March 1, 2019
It must be understood that #Pakistan has not done us a favor by returning #WingCommanderAbhinandan. Under the #GenevaConvention, a serving soldier captured during conflict has to be returned.— Vijay Kumar Singh (@Gen_VKSingh) March 1, 2019
We must not forget that after 1971, we released over 90,000 PoW from Pakistan.
Extremely happy that Our Hero #IAF pilot Wing Commander #AbhinandanVarthaman is back.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) March 1, 2019
The grace, grit, and commitment he showed during the toughest time is really admirable. We are proud of him.
The nation salutes his bravery.#WelcomeHomeAbhinandan
In the biggest escalation since 1971, India and Pakistani jets clashed on Wednesday, following IAF's move to destroy terror camp ran by Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama.
The Indian Air Force on Thursday said that it was a compulsion for Pakistan to hand over the pilot under the Geneva Convention.