'Nothin scared him more than being held at gun point'
Of all the horror, pain, physical and mental trauma that 22-year-old chef Prashant Chauhan suffered during 300 days in captivity on decks of hijacked ship MV Suez, nothing scared him more than being held at gun point by the somali pirate each day. Gaurav Bisht reports.Updated: Jun 24, 2011 20:39 IST
Of all the horror, pain, physical and mental trauma that 22-year-old chef Prashant Chauhan suffered during 300 days in captivity on decks of hijacked ship MV Suez, nothing scared him more than being held at gun point by the somali pirate each day.
"Ten months were like hell. Counting death each day is traumatic" says Prashant Chauhan, who was amongst the 22 hostages on the cargo ship MV Suez hijacked by the pirates off the Somalia coast in August 2010.
"If they did not understand our language they would simply pull out their guns and tie our limbs."
With language being a barrier to communicate, the hostages remained at the mercy of pirates.
"Everything depended upon them (pirates). When they felt like they let us talk with each other and when they were frustrated they would tie our hands" said Prashant, who was traveling back with her parents to his Shimla.
Sounding feeble and traumatized Prashant did not talk much saying, "I don’t want to remember the time that I had spent with pirates."
For Amar Singh Chauhan, Prashant's father, the ordeal is over but the suffering still lingers in the family.
"I was both elated and disturbed to see my son at Indira Gandhi airport" says Amar Singh Chauhan an official in Milk Feration in Shimla. Amar Singh and his wife had been running from pillar to post for the release of their son Prashant.
"I don't think so that Prashant mother had left a single temple in the area to pray for the release and safety of Prashant" says Amar Singh Chauhan.
"Hostage on the ship were given four potatoes for a meal and some rice," says Amar Singh Chauhan adding that one can imagine that how they lived under fear on the ship.
Amidst the ship anchored in the seawater getting a drop of water in the scorching heat was Gods gift.
"Four hostages were given one liter of water for two days," says Amar Singh.
"I believe that their firm faith in God and will to survive kept them going against all odds," said Himal Chauhan, Prashants uncle. The crew on the ship was finally released on June 14, after a payment of $2.1 million. Pakistani Human Rights activist Ansar Burney arranged for the ransom money. The crew of the hijacked ship consisted of Indians, four Pakistanis, 11 Egyptians and 1 Sri Lankan. The family also expressed their gratitude to Ansar Burney for his constant efforts.
Chauhan in Shimla must have lived ten months in trauma but they are undewtterd about Prashant's future. "After few months Prashant will be back to his job. There is no question that we discourage him," said Amar Singh Chauhan.
First Published: Jun 24, 2011 20:37 IST