BSF cancels daily retreat ceremony at Attari-Wagah border for Abhinandan’s release

Indian soldiers and Kashmiri onlookers stand near the remains of an Indian Air Force aircraft after it crashed in Budgam district some 30 kilometers from Srinagar

Indian soldiers and Kashmiri onlookers stand near the remains of an Indian Air Force aircraft after it crashed in Budgam district some 30 kilometers from Srinagar

The development comes in the wake of Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman being released by Pakistan today.

People started arriving in Attari, around 30 km from Amritsar since 6 am.

The Beating the Retreat ceremony (at Attari-Wagah Border) will not be held today. "He showed a lot of bravery in the air combat and even after being captured by the Pakistanis", Jitender, a resident of Amritsar, who arrived in Attari with his friends, said.

Senior officers of the BSF have already reached the border front to ensure that the handing over procedure of the IAF pilot is conducted smoothly and a general directive has been issued to all the security units of the force to remain alert.

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The IAF pilot's MiG 21 was shot and he bailed out after bringing down one Pakistani F-16 fighter as three Pakistani aircraft violated Indian airspace in Jammu and Kashmir's Nowshera and Poonch on Wednesday, February 26.

Wing Commander Varthaman will be received by a delegation of the Indian Air Force at the Wagah border. Hundreds of people had flocked the Attari border since early on Friday morning to catch a glimpse of Abhinandan.

According to reports, India had conveyed to Pakistan that it wants Abhinandan to be sent back via aerial route and not through the Wagah land border. "It is an emotional moment for all of us here", said a local. On Thursday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Abhinandan's release and stated it to be as a peace gesture of Pakistan.

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