New Delhi: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman held back crucial information from Pakistani interrogators during the first 24 hours of his capture despite being subjected to physical and psychological torture, a Hindustan Times report quoting a senior officer said.
The 35-year-old Indian Air Force pilot was captured when he ejected from his aircraft after his MiG-21 Bison was shot down by the Pakistanis across the Line of Control.
The officer, who the report said was among the team who spoke to Varthaman after he walked back into India through the Wagah border two days after his capture, said the IAF pilot was beaten up, choked and deprived of sleep.
Varthaman was made to stand for hours at a stretch, subjected to loud music to increase his discomfort and deprived of sleep, the report said.
The Pakistani Army officers had tried to extract information about the frequencies the IAF used to transmit messages apart from other information.
According to the officer, IAF pilots are trained to withhold information as long as possible after their capture so that the transmitting frequencies and deployments could be changed in the first 24 hours.
“Wing Commander Abhinandan did exactly that,” the officer said.
“The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) questioned him, but he was largely in custody of the Pakistan Army,” he said.
“There was no medical treatment in the initial hours after ejection. On the contrary, he was made to stand, they played loud music to confuse and increase the discomfort. He was also chocked – a kind of dry waterboarding – and even beaten up.”