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Sunday, 26 December, 1999, 00:31 GMT
Despair and delight in Delhi

Rupin Katyal's coffin Rupin Katyal's body has been handed to his family

The 27 passengers released from the hijacked Indian airliner have arrived back in Delhi to be met by weeping relatives and friends.

Many relatives had been waiting at the airport for over 24 hours, anxiously awaiting news of their loved ones.

When the names of hostages freed in Dubai was announced at Delhi airport relatives almost mobbed officials.

injured man One of the freed group was injured, and two had fallen sick.
The returning passengers, all Indians and mainly women and children, were accompanied by Indian Civil Aviation Minister Sharad Yadav.

The body of 25-year-old Rupin Katyal, who was killed by the gunmen, was also flown to India.

His relatives wept inconsolably as his coffin was brought out of the airport, with one woman wailing "Why did this happen to us?"

"Our whole world has crumbled" his uncle said, "There is nothing left to us now."

Most of the freed hostages left the airport immediately under police escort, looking shocked and dazed by their ordeal.

Our whole world has crumbled
Victim's uncle
A man stabbed in the face by one of the hijackers was treated by a doctor at the airport.

His wife told reporters that the hijackers had spaced themselves along the aircraft and warned their hostages not to look at them.

The Civil Aviation minister said information given by the released hostages "could help us in getting the other hostages released".

Distraught relatives of those still held in the plane are besieging Indian Airlines officials.

Many are becoming angry at what they see as the reluctance of the officials to keep them informed.

"Officials have been coming to talk to us," said Shri Ram Maggo, "but all they are holding out is empty promises."

"We are desperate to know what is happening, but whatever news we get is only bad news," another relative said

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See also:
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Hijackers dictate demands
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Profile: Maulana Masood Azhar
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Chronology of a hijack
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Hijacked plane lands in Afghanistan
24 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Hijack negotiations in Dubai
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Airport ordeal for relatives

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