Man held for involvement in Indian Air plane hijack

DHAKA: Bangladeshi forces have arrested a man allegedly involved in the deadly hijacking by Islamist militants of an Indian Airlines jet in 1999 that led to the release of several prisoners held in Indian jails.

Investigators were questioning the Bangladeshi man today after he was picked up last weekend in the capital Dhaka’s commercial district, said Col Matiur Rahman, a spokesman for Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion.

Five Muslim militants - armed with pistols, grenades and knives - hijacked the Indian Airlines aircraft as it flew from Kathmandu, Nepal, to New Delhi in December 1999. They demanded the release of Kashmiri militants held in India and flew the aircraft to the Afghan city of Kandahar, stopping off en route in Lahore, Pakistan, and Dubai.

One hostage was killed and the hijacking ended after an eight-day standoff when India released three prisoners in exchange for 155 hostages.