On December 24, 1999, an Indian Airlines flight IC 814 took off from Kathmandu, Nepal, for Lucknow. But the plane didn’t reach Lucknow. There were five hijackers present on the plane. They asked the pilot to take the plane to Kandahar directly but the pilot cited shortage of fuel.
So, the plane was directed towards Lahore in Pakistan where Pakistan denied permission for landing initially but later on when they didn’t see any option and allowed the refueling of the plane.
Then, from Pakistan, the plane reached Dubai airport, where hijackers allowed 27 passengers to disembark. India asked for help from the UAE government but they didn’t intervene.
Then from Dubai airport, the plane reached Kandahar. After the news spread, international journalists started to gather near the airport.
At that time, Kandahar airport was not fully facilitated. Instead of proper vehicles, airport staff used bikes for commuting from one place to another though there was one guy who was roaming around in a cycle which created a lot of buzz.
Still, nobody knows who the guy on the cycle was.
The plane was hijacked for 7 days by Taliban terrorists, who later demanded the release of 3 terrorists whom India had captured. They said if their demands were not fulfilled, they would start killing the passengers.
According to the passengers, the five hijackers addressed each other as Burger, Doctor, Chief, Bhola & Shankar.
The demand was to release the terrorists Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar.
After one week of negotiations, the Indian government finally agreed to release the three terrorists in exchange of 170 passengers and 15 crew members. One person was killed by the hijackers.
After the passengers landed in India, the sight of relief and emotions ran through their eyes. One of them said: “It was the most terrifying week of my life.”