The 13-hour high drama involving the skyjacking of the Delhi-bound Indian Airlines Boeing 737 ended on a comic note at 6:30 am at the Babatpur airport in Varanasi. The two young skyjackers handed over two toy pistols and a cricket ball wrapped in black cloth looking like a hand grenade to the district magistrate of Varanasi. The passengers were later taken by the same plane to Delhi. Earlier the two skyjackers, Devendra Pandey, 28, and Bhola Nath Pandey, 25, boarded a government plane which landed at Lucknow’s Amausi airport at 9:05 am. They got down from the plane nonchalantly and shouted “Indira Gandhi Zindabad”. They were taken into custody by policemen.
The Congress (I) President, Indira Gandhi, has asked her party colleagues to meet the situation arising from her imprisonment “calmly and peacefully”. “This is and will continue to be our tradition,” she has said, according to an AICC (I) release. The release said Mrs Gandhi wrote the message before going to jail. “This moment is not one of sorrow or of anger. We must meet it calmly and peacefully as this is and will continue to be our tradition,” the message said.
Morarji and Charan
The Janata Party, no longer a united house, will move closer towards a split when Charan Singh makes his statement in the Lok Sabha tomorrow. PM Morarji Desai is expected to reply to the points Singh will make in the statement. The former home minister was to make his statement explaining the circumstances which led to his exit from the Cabinet on December 21. But George Fernandes and Biju Patnaik, Union ministers, persuaded him to stay his hand for day. Apparently, the unity efforts of the two ministers have drawn a blank.