Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Home Political History of India 54 years ago on this day, Pakistan killed an Indian Chief Minister because his...

54 years ago on this day, Pakistan killed an Indian Chief Minister because his plane was flying ‘too close’ to Indo-Pak border

The Pakistani Air Force pilot wrote a letter to the daughter of the pilot, Jehangir Engineer, apologising for the 'mistake'. There were seven other people, including the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and his wife, onboard who were killed because the Pakistani Air Force pilot could. It is almost as if they were expendable.

As the Indian government sought permission from Pakistani authorities to allow PM Modi to fly over Pakistani airspace during his upcoming trip to the United States, social media users reminded the history of Pakistan’s monstrosity of shooting down a civilian aircraft carrying the then Gujarat Chief Minister Balwant Rai Mehta for allegedly entering its airspace.

On 19th September 1965, we were in middle of the 1965 India-Pakistan war. The then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Balwant Rai Mehta, a tall Congress leader died after the civilian aircraft he was travelling with seven others was shot down by a Pakistani airforce pilot near Indo-Pak border in the Rann of Kutch.

Mehta took the Beechcraft Model 18 twin-engine light aircraft to Mithapur near the India-Pakistan border. Former Air Force pilot Jehangir Engineer was piloting the aircraft along with a colleague.

The flight took off from Ahmedabad airport toward Mithapur with Mehta, his wife Saroj, a journalist from Gujarati daily Gujarat Samachar and three aides of Mehta. The flight was expected to land in Mithapur at around 3 PM.

At around 3:30 PM in Pakistan (3 PM IST), Flight Lt A I Bukhari and Flying Official Qais Hussain of the no. 18 Squadron were asked to check a ‘suspicious’ radar contact south-west of Bhuj in Kutch, Gujarat. The duo scrambled and around 15 minutes later, Hussain took off. Around twenty minutes later, Hussain entered Indian Air Space at 20,000 feet.

Hussain then ‘spotted the target’ read that the number started with VT and informed the air base in Pakistan about it. Hussain was asked to standby till further instructions and he kept hovering on top of the aircraft. A few minutes later, Hussain got the message he was ‘clear to shoot’.

Hussain positioned his plane behind the aircraft carrying Mehta which had begun to climb up and wagging the wings to signalling it is a civilian aircraft. Hussain paid no heed and took first shot. A splinter flew off the left wing of the plane. He then fired toward the right wing. The plane was unsteady but still flying. Soon, the right engine caught fire and the took a 90 degree vertical dive. It soon blew into a ball of fire, just off the coast.

Hussain then quickly turned back. Pakistani Air Force shot down a civilian aircraft after entering Indian Air Space because it was ‘flying very close to the border for considerable period of time’. Pakistani Air Force suspected that Indian Air Force was using a civilian aircraft for a recce.

Four days later, on 23rd September, 1965, Pakistani dictator Ayub Khan declared ceasefire.

According to Twitter user Adivaraha, Mehta’s tour to the Kutch area was already announced in newspapers.

The Pakistani military, which was already humiliated in the war wanted to capture plane carrying him and his wife as a trophy. The Pilot flying the plane carrying Gujarat Chief Minister Mehta was Jahangir Engineer, one of the celebrated pilots of the Indian Air Force.

Forty-six years after the incident the pilot of the Pakistani fighter aircraft pilot wrote a letter to the daughter of the chief pilot of the Beechcraft and apologised to her. In his letter, he went on to blame Indian media from that time for portraying the incident the way they did ‘due to lack of information’.

The letter was addressed only to Farida Singh, daughter of Jehangir Engineer, the pilot. There were seven other people, including the then Chief Minister of Gujarat and his wife, onboard who were killed because the Pakistani Air Force pilot could.

It does not appear that the pilot, who was somehow ‘forgiven’ by the Indian media for the ‘mistake’ after he offered the ‘healing touch’, or the Pakistani government, ever apologised to Balwantrai Mehta or his family. Or the other members who were killed in that ball of fire. It is almost as if they were expendable.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

AAP supported farmer protests hampering war against Covid-19, oxygen supplier writes to GOI saying tankers delayed due to roadblocks by protestors

Inox Air Products said that they are facing delays in Delhi while transporting oxygen due to road blockades by the farmer protestors

After getting vaccinated himself, Rakesh Tikait says the Modi government will be responsible if farmers get COVID-19

Rakesh Tikait had recently said that 'farmers' protests is not Shaheen Bagh than can be stopped in the name of coronavirus

How China’s ‘Re-education through labour’ policy put minorities in labour camps even before the Uyghur crisis: About the Masanjia camps

The letter went into detail about the conditions at China's Masanjia Labor Camp, including the gruelling hours, verbal abuse and physical abuse

From sitting on upturned dustbins to photo ops at crematorium grounds, Barkha Dutt gets questioned for her ‘vulture journalism’

While the situation on ground is indeed grim, people on social media have been calling out the dramatics by journalists who could have perhaps focused on the news instead of their brand building.

Maharashtra FDA minister embarrasses his own govt and alliance leaders, says his ministry had approved Remdesivir procurement by BJP

Maharashtra FDA Minister and NCP leader Dr. Rajendra Shingne confirms that he was aware about BJP procuring Remdesivir for state govt

Journalism: The new performance art

With the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists have screamed "Beware of the Ides of March" to anyone who would listen - Barkha Dutt for example.

Recently Popular

Journalism: The new performance art

With the COVID-19 pandemic, journalists have screamed "Beware of the Ides of March" to anyone who would listen - Barkha Dutt for example.

IIT Kanpur Professor predicts COVID-19 to peak in May, dismisses claims of Kumbh and poll rallies being responsible for spread

The IIT Kanpur professor said that since the election rallies and the Kumbh are held in open spaces, there are few chances of it spreading the COVID virus

AAP supported farmer protests hampering war against Covid-19, oxygen supplier writes to GOI saying tankers delayed due to roadblocks by protestors

Inox Air Products said that they are facing delays in Delhi while transporting oxygen due to road blockades by the farmer protestors

Understanding the hate factory: How Rohan Joshi and his hateful post against Hindus gives us an insight into the ‘liberal’ mind

Comedian Rohan Joshi tells Bhakts, "I have nothing but contempt for them and nit a shred of empathy" as he mocks Coronavirus deaths

Why did 9 anti-Modi parties demand from Election Commission that rallies must be held?

Let us get into the dirt and start pointing fingers, if that is what everyone wants. How did the second wave come to be?

Suar ke bachche BJP, Suar ke bachche CISF: TMC leader Firhad Hakim asks peope to assault BJP workers, threatens CISF

Firhad Hakim threatened, "Let the elections get over. Then, our CID will take action against the 'progeny of pigs' CISF."
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,077FansLike
530,880FollowersFollow
24,200SubscribersSubscribe