Who was the Khalistani terrorist Gajinder Singh who died in Pakistan, was wanted in the plane hijacking case

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read

New Delhi: Pro-Khalistan wanted terrorist Gajinder Singh, who was hiding in Pakistan, has died. He was 73 years old. Pro-Khalistan terrorist Gajinder Singh, who hijacked the Delhi-Srinagar Indian Airlines plane in 1981, died of a heart attack in Lahore. He remained hidden in Pakistan for nearly four decades. He co-founded a radical Sikh organization called Dal Khalsa and continued to run anti-India campaign till his last days. In 2002, he was placed on the list of 20 most wanted terrorists.

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An Indian plane was hijacked in 1981

Gajinder Singh was cremated near a gurdwara in the Pakistani city on Thursday, Dal Khalsa functionary Kanwarpal Singh said. His daughter Bikramjit Kaur lit the pyre. On September 29, 1981, Gajinder and four terrorists hijacked Flight IC-423 carrying 111 passengers and six crew members. The hijackers forced the pilot to land the plane in Lahore, from where they negotiated with then Indian ambassador K. Natwar Singh for the release of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and several pro-Khalistan militants.

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Gajinder Singh was hiding in Pakistan

Gajinder Singh's gang demanded $500,000 and threatened to behead the pilots. The hijackers wrapped fruits in newspapers and claimed they were hand grenades with which they would blow up the plane. The hijacking drama ended when Pakistani commandos entered the hijacked plane under diplomatic pressure from India. The then Pakistan government claimed that it had kept the hijackers captive for several years. However, in 1986 some photographs emerged which showed that the accused were roaming freely. Two of them, Satnam Singh and Tejinder Pal Singh, who later returned to India, were arrested, tried and then acquitted.

India continues to seek extradition

Gajinder Singh went to Germany in 1996 but was barred from entering the country due to India's objections. He returned to Pakistan and remained silent for several years. India continued to seek his extradition, while Pakistan continued to deny Gajinder Singh's presence in its territory. In 2016, Dal Khalsa merged with another radical outfit called Panch Pradhan. However, it retained its name to pursue the separatist Khalistan agenda.

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A photo revealed that Gajinder was in Pakistan

No one knew anything about Gajinder till September 2022. No one knew where he was or what his condition was. He could not be identified for so many years, meanwhile when a picture of him came on social media, it was revealed that he was hiding in Pakistan. He had posted a picture of himself in which he was standing in front of Gurdwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal, Punjab province of Pakistan. At an event in Hoshiarpur on the 41st anniversary of the kidnapping, Dal Khalsa appealed to Pakistan to consider granting political asylum to Gajinder.

Aamir Sarfraz Tamba, accused of killing Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh, who is serving death sentence in Pakistan, was killed on April 14 this year. He was killed by unidentified gunmen in Lahore. 11 years after Sarabjit Singh's murder, his killer, ISI operative and associate of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, Aamir Sarfraz was shot dead by bike-borne gunmen in Lahore's Islampura area. Without naming India, Pakistani authorities had termed his killing a targeted killing and ordered an investigation.

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