WORLD NEWS TOMORROW – Police in Kashmir have arrested a militant suspected of involvement in the 1999 hijacking of an Indian passenger plane that was flown to Afghanistan, a government spokesman told AFP on Thursday.
Mehrajuddin Dand, alias Javed was arrested by police in Kashmir’s Kishtwar district on Thursday morning, ending a near 13-year-old pursuit of the militants behind the high-profile hijacking.
The New Delhi-bound Indian Airlines aircraft with 157 people on board was seized and flown to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar by five men after it took off from the Nepalese capital Kathmandu on December 24, 1999.Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia, a spokesman for the home ministry told AFP that Dand was arrested in the morning and that the “initial investigation reveals that he provided logistical support to the hijackers”.
Media reports said that Dand had provided assistance and fake travel documents to the five hijackers, none of whom were apprehended by police after the incident.Dhatwalia said Dand moved across the border between India and Pakistan for years until police nabbed him.
“He is being questioned in a number of other cases as well, but we cannot reveal those details yet,” he said.The 1999 hijack crisis ended after India’s then government swapped three Islamist militants imprisoned in New Delhi for the captives.