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Indian Airlines official Vikram Badshah
"Some passengers were allowed to change their clothes"
 real 28k

The BBC's Kate Clark reports
"Radio contact has been resumed to the evident relief of the Indian negotiators"
 real 28k

Mike Wooldridge in Delhi
"No breakthrough has been reported so far"
 real 28k

The BBC's Lisa Holland
"For now, there are few signs of progress. The brinkmanship continues"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 28 December, 1999, 11:54 GMT
Hijackers refuse to release children

A Taleban guard keeps watch on the aircraft at Kandahar airport A Taleban guard keeps watch on the aircraft at Kandahar airport

The hijackers of an Indian plane have refused a request to release children and their mothers as conditions worsen on board the aircraft sitting on the tarmac at Kandahar airport in southern Afghanistan.

Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh said the request was conveyed by Indian negotiators who were sent to Kandahar on Monday.

He also said the negotiating team had been given "some access" to the hostages but did not give any details.

The Indian negotiators are being led by Indian Foreign Ministry official Vivek Katju.

The talks were joined by UN officials and European diplomats who have come to represent their nationals on board the hijacked plane.

The first session of talks, which began on Monday evening, went on late into the night before being interrupted by loss of radio contact.

Taleban man passes water to plane Food and water are being supplied to the hostages

The plane lost power when its engines cut out early on Tuesday morning. The engines had been kept running since Saturday to provide heat for the passengers.

Ground technicians have been working on the airliner to try to get the engines running again.

Conditions on board

As the stand-off enters its fifth day conditions have been steadily deteriorating on board the aircraft.

We have two passengers on that plane with cancer
Indian diplomat

Reports say the stench from the aircraft is overwhelming and concern is rising over the physical and mental conditions of the hostages.

A doctor, part of the Indian team that was sent on Monday, said those on board would be under tremendous psychological pressure.

"Normally after four or five days hostages start losing their patience and can suffer a nervous breakdown," Dr Wishal Sharma said.

An Indian diplomat said two of the passengers on board had cancer and their condition could worsen in the cold.

Temperatures in Kandahar drop below freezing at night and the Taleban guards ringing the aircraft have lit small fires to stay warm.

Despairing relative Despairing relatives have been picketing the prime minister's residence in New Delhi

But Indian officials said the hostages had been allowed to change their clothes and were served food and water.

"As per our information, the toilets are being cleaned," he told relatives of the hostages in Delhi.

On Tuesday morning, the hostages were served a breakfast of eggs, bread and mineral water.

The Taleban have been serving the hostages rice and lentils, since many of the Indian passengers are vegetarians.

Hijack timeline
24 Dec 1055 GMT: Plane leaves Kathmandu
1130 GMT: Hijackers demand to be flown to Lahore, Pakistan
1331 GMT: Plane lands at Amritsar, India
1437 GMT: Plane lands at Lahore without Pakistani permission.
2010 GMT: Plane lands at Al-Minhad military air base near Dubai, UAE
25 Dec 0055 GMT: Some hostages released and plane takes off
0303 GMT: Plane lands at Kandahar, Afghanistan
27 Dec Indian negotiators arrive Kandahar
The hijackers are holding around 160 passengers and crew on the plane in Kandahar.

They had earlier threatened to start killing passengers if the Indian authorities did not take steps to meet their demands.

The hijackers, who seized flight IC-814 four days ago, are demanding the Indian Government release several Kashmiri separatists and a Muslim cleric, Maulana Masood Azhar, jailed in India.

Click here to see the hijacked plane's route

They have already stabbed one passenger to death.

Several truckloads of militiamen from Afghanistan's ruling Taleban have surrounded the aircraft, which has been on the tarmac for two days.

The Taleban have warned they will storm the plane if the hijackers start killing passengers.

United Nations official Erik de Mul said, that according to the captain of the hijacked aircraft, the passengers were in a ''bad'' mental and physical condition.

Desperate relatives

In Delhi, relatives of the captives clashed with riot police as they accused the government of bungling. Some say they cannot understand why Maulana Masood Azhar cannot be released in return for the lives of their loved ones.

India previously refused a similar demand to free the cleric after six Western tourists were kidnapped while trekking in Kashmir.

Twenty-eight people have been released since the hijackers took control of the plane. One was freed on Sunday in Afghanistan, the others, all Indians, were released in exchange for fuel in Dubai.

The body of 25-year-old businessman Rupin Katyal - the only person known to have been killed by the hijackers - was also taken off the plane in Dubai.

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See also:
27 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Relatives' fury over hijack 'fiasco'
27 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Indian media slams government
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Profile: Maulana Masood Azhar
27 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Nepal appeal in hijack drama
26 Dec 99 |  South Asia
In pictures: The Indian Airlines hijack
25 Dec 99 |  South Asia
Chronology of a hijack

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