The negotiations failed, and the hijackers asked all passengers to raise their hands for their last meal because they were all going to be killed. No one raised their hand, Dhital recalls, only Tamrakar did, and he ate an entire chicken. A Japanese passenger was so stressed she kept smoking and taking pictures, and the hijackers confiscated all cameras.
Dhital went to the business class area to deposit his camera, when the hijackers found Pakistani money in his bag. They asked him if he was Pakistani, and when they found out he had an Afghan visa, he was taken to the head hijacker in the cockpit. Dhital’s wife was convinced he was being led off to be executed, and started crying. But all the hijacker wanted to do was to talk to him, and thank him for his service in Pakistan. He told his comrades to treat the Nepali passenger well.
“Human beings can go without food, but they cannot do without water. We were always thirsty in the plane. Fellow passengers would ask me what I would do once I was released, and I remember thinking I will drink an entire bottle of water,” Dhital says.
The five hijackers all had code names: Manager, Shankar, Bhola, Burger and Doctor. Of the lot, Doctor seemed the nicest, but his job was to lecture to us about the inevitability of death, and to be prepared for it.
On the seventh day, there was panic. The hijackers went through the cabin and said the talks had failed and the Indian government did not want to save the lives of their nationals on board. “We will now start executing you one by one, no one should cry, just take Allah’s name,” he said.
Two of the hijackers appeared with AK-47s. Dhital wondered whether they would start killing the passengers from the front or back, and when their turn would come because they were in the middle. The newly-wed couple hugged each other and wept, waiting for certain death. The hijackers stabbed an Indian passenger with a knife.