New Delhi: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was subjected to loud music and bright lights to keep him sleep-deprived in the first 24 hours since he was captured — an attempt by Pakistan’s ISI to keep him disoriented and break him down, top sources in the security and defence establishment have told ThePrint.
The sources said Abhinandan was not allowed to sleep in the first 24 hours he was in Pakistan’s custody. In all, he spent about 60 hours in their custody.
Medical examination has found that Abhinandan is doing well but has problem in his back, which sources suspect is due to his ejection and subsequent landing.
The medical examination has found that the IAF pilot also has injuries to his ribs, which, sources say, he might have suffered due to the initial beating he was subjected to by locals at the time of his capture.
Allegations of ‘torture’
“Wing Commander Abhinandan was subjected to torture while he was in the custody of the Pakistan Army. He was not allowed to sleep for the first 24 hours and was subjected to loud music and bright lights to keep him awake,” a source told ThePrint.
The source explained that the idea is to disorient the person and to torture him mentally. Abhinandan was also questioned repeatedly by different officers, with many asking him repeated questions to tire him out.
“The idea is to break the subject down. This is torture. Thankfully, he is back in India,” the source said.
Wing Commander Abhinandan is currently under the medical care of military doctors. There is a process of debriefing that is being followed, sources said.
Debrief refers to a system under which officials try to connect the dots — from Abhinandan’s flight to the time he was handed back to the Indian side.
Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it
India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.
But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.
ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.