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January 1, 2000
'They behaved well with the hostages till the very end'
Anil Khurana, the diabetic patient who was released by the
hijackers of Flight 814 on medical grounds at Kandahar airport last Sunday,
is now under
treatment at the Kalra hospital in Kirti Nagar in West Delhi.
"I am praising them because they deserve it. If they had
passengers badly, half of them would not have been fit enough
to walk after
eight days of the hijack drama" he said. Khurana refused to
speak about the
incident initially, but later opened up.
Speaking torediff.com from his hospital bed, Khurana praised the hijackers for their treatment of the hostages during the eight day ordeal.
"I am praising them because they deserve it. If they had treated the passengers badly, half of them would not have been fit enough to walk after eight days of the hijack drama" he said. Khurana refused to speak about the incident initially, but later opened up.
Could you tell us what happened? How did the hijackers get on board?
Listen, what is over is behind me. I do not want to talk about it. If you want to ask me anything, ask me about my medical condition or my family members.
You have been a diabetic for the last 17 years. Didn't you carry your insulin on you?
I had insulin with me, but it was in my checked in luggage. I take two injections a day. Since I had taken one injection before the flight took off from Kathmandu I felt no need to have insulin with me as the flight from Kathmandu to Delhi takes only one and a half hours. I did not imagine the plane would get hijacked. Because I could not take insulin on time my condition deteriorated.
What did the hijackers do when they found that you were not feeling well?
When they discovered I was a diabetic and my condition was deteriorating fast they asked a lady doctor Anita Joshi to have a look. She gave me some medicines, but even then there was not improvement in my condition. That is why I was released and sent for medical treatment. First at Kandahar hospital. Later, I was removed to the Islamabad hospital.
At that point of time I was so bad that my survival was a remote possibility. I must say they were very considerate to me.
Now that the hijack is over, how do you feel about it?
I am the happiest man that the whole thing is over, because my relative Sanjeev was still in the plane when I was taken to the hospital. I never wanted to leave the place because I felt how could I go back home without him. Now he has been released and yesterday for the first time I felt that we were back as a family. Yesterday, of course, was the day to celebrate. I hope to get well in a couple of days and moving about and looking after my furniture business.
How did you feel when you were being held hostage?
Someone who has undergone this kind of experience alone would be able to tell as to what happened there or how he felt about the family and what kind of tension he had to undergo.
Did you feel death was imminent?
Frankly, no. At no point of time did I give up hope of living. I somehow felt the entire drama would be over and we would all be back home soon. How others felt, I cannot say.
Many passengers have been praising the hijackers. Why?
If they had something in them, it should be praised. They behaved well with the hostages till the very end. They did not harass any one. They did not beat up people unnecessarily. They provided food on time. Whatever they could provide, they did it. This is the reason why the passengers could survive even after eight days. If any incident took place inside the plane then I do not know about it.
But they killed Rupin Katyal. Why?
I was not aware of the killing till I reached Delhi. Even while I was under treatment in Pakistan they did not tell me. I was totally in the dark about someone being killed by the hijackers or someone being injured by them.
If they were so considerate, why did they kill Rupin?
Maybe because they wanted to spread terror amongst the passengers. If I show you a weapon and ask you to get out from this place, you would take your tape recorder and leave this place in one minute.
Why did they do it? What did they want to achieve?
I have no clue why they did it. The Government of India will have to tell us why this happened and who did it.
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