‘I Can’t Tell You That’: From Nagpur Police to Sehwag, Twitter Can’t Keep Calm About IAF Pilot Abhinandan

Since last Wednesday, social media has been consumed with just one name — Indian Air Force pilot Abhinandan Varthaman.

The Wing Commander who was released on Friday from Pakistan’s custody after spending 60 hours there has been the top trend on social media as well as the most talked about person on news and general public discourse. In keeping with the mood, Nagpur Police has used one of his lines from a video, released earlier by Pakistan as proof of his capture, to make a point about internet safety.

When Varthaman was captured, Pakistani militia and government released footages of the pilot drinking tea while coolly answering questions by Pakistani authorities. In the video, when the pilot is asked about his identification, he promptly responds. But when he is asked about further details such as where he is from or what his mission was, he politely refused to answer. “I am not supposed to tell you this,” he told the major who was apparently asking him questions. The video went viral on the internet with people from both India and Pakistan lauding the pilot for his bravery in the face of adversity.
With his safe return to India, the hoopla around the pilot has continued. And now, even Nagpur Police have joined it. In its recent post on Twitter, the police force wrote, “When someone asks for your OTP: “I am not supposed to tell you this” #WelcomeHomeAbhinandan #NagpurPolice.”

Twitterati was very impressed by Nagpur Police’s clever usage of what is currently trending to both commemorate wing commander Abhinandan but also to spread an important message about cyber safety.

In fact, the line has become so popular that mant people are sharing it on their social media accounts and using it as a catchphrase or as a punchline for jokes and anecdotes. Cricketer Virender Sehwag also shared an image of a sketch of the pilot with the same line written on top.

The Wing Commander was handed over to India by Pakistan at the Attari-Wagah border after being in captivity for nearly 60 hours.

A group of people had given Varthaman a rousing welcome at the Palam airport, from where he was taken to a medical facility for examination. After returning from Pakistan, Varthaman has informed that though he was not physically tortured by the Pakistanis; he went through a lot of mental harassment.

Updated: March 3, 2019 — 3:42 pm