A physician who treated fellow passengers aboard a hijacked Indian Airlines plane said today that she recognized the faces of the hijackers in photographs distributed by the Indian government.
Bombay pathologist Anita Joshi, one of the few hostages to see the hijackers without their masks, said "they are the same people" who appeared in photographs published by India last week. The identities of the five hijackers and their home addresses in Pakistan also were published.
India has blamed Pakistan for the ordeal and called for the hijackers' arrest. Pakistan has denied the accusations and said the hijackers are in Indian-held Kashmir.
One passenger was stabbed to death and a second man was wounded on the first day of the eight-day hijacking drama, which ended New Year's Eve after India released three Kashmiri activists. The hijackers escaped.
Joshi said the hijackers, who spoke in Hindi and Pashto, said they had planned the operation for two years. "They said they saw Hollywood movies and read books on hijacking, They were perfectly trained," Joshi said.
She said the hijackers told her they were happy to see foreigners on the plane when they boarded it Christmas Eve in Katmandu, Nepal, on a flight to New Delhi.
"They said, 'If one of you [Indians] die, nothing will happen, but if one of the foreigners dies . . . other governments will put pressure on your government,' " she said.
She said the hijackers had asked her to treat the two passengers whom they had stabbed when the plane landed at Amritsar, the first of several stops before it was taken to Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Rippan Katyal, returning with his bride from his honeymoon, died of his wounds.
The hijackers "said there was a problem with refueling and so they had to do this. They asked me, 'He won't die, will he?' I told them he needed to be hospitalized immediately. But when I bandaged him the second time I knew Rippan was in the last stages," she said.