New Delhi, Aug 14: Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who spent some days in Pakistani custody when his MiG-21 was shot down in a dogfight with PAF jets a day after the February 26 Balakot airstrike, will likely be conferred the Vir Chakra on Independence Day, sources said Wednesday.

The 36-year-old IAF pilot had suffered injuries while ejecting from his MiG-21 Bison during the aerial combat between Indian and Pakistani air forces on February 27.

Varthaman, who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan, is set to fly MiG-21 within a few weeks as a medical board cleared his return to fighter cockpit.

Official sources said IAF's Bengaluru-based Institute of Aerospace Medicine has given the go-ahead to Varthaman to fly again following a thorough medical evaluation.

Varthaman was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat.

Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was released on the night of March 1 by Pakistan.

Days after he returned from Pakistan, Varthaman conveyed to IAF brass his wish to return to fighter cockpit at the earliest.

IAF fighter jets bombed a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26, nearly two weeks after the Pulwama strike.

Pakistan retaliated on February 27 by attempting to target Indian military installations.

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Mangaluru: A Belthangady resident Rawoof, who works as a helper at local Madrasa was on Monday in for a shock of his life when he was informed by his friends and relatives that his name was appearing in news channels and papers but for all the wrong reasons.

Rawoof on Monday received several calls from his friends and relatives informing him about his name appearing in news channels and papers calling to be a terrorist who made and received calls from Pakistan in Belthangady.

Reports were doing rounds in media that the NIA had arrested one terrorist from Belthangady for allegedly making and receiving satellite calls from Pakistan. Although the news was not verified or confirmed from any official sources or authority, media houses jumped to conclusion and soon name of Rawoof appeared in reports as the arrested terrorist.

After being informed by his friends and relatives, Rawoof immediately got in touch with Ullal MLA and senior Congress leader U T Khader who advised him to appear before Dakshina Kannada SP Laxmiprasad and to file a complaint in this regard at the earliest.

Rawoof appeared before Superintendent of Police and cleared his stance and added that he had no connection with Pakistan and that reports being shown in the media are untrue.


After verifying his details and backgrounds to the SP, Rawoof urged him to take strict action against the media houses who have casted him as a terrorist.

Rawoof also met Mangaluru Police Commissioner Dr. PS Harsha and informed him about the reports and added that the whole episode had caused mental harassment and torture to him.

Speaking to Vartha Bharati, Rawoof said "This whole thing has badly affected my mental peace. My family is being asked about my connections with Pakistan. All this, when I don't know anything about such stuff. The whole incident has disturbed me and my family completely".

He further added that he had faith on the police department who will take action against those found guilty.

MLA U T Khader also batted for action against media houses who casted Rawoof as terrorist even when the SP has confirmed that there is no criminal record and history of Rawoof.

Earlier in the day, SP Laxmiprasad had also rubbished the reports and had added that no such incident or case of satellite calls being made or received from Pakistan was reported nor the NIA had arrested any person in this regard.