1994 Kidnappings of Westerners in India

The 1994 kidnappings of Westerners in India was the abduction of four foreign tourists in New Delhi, India on October 20, 1994 by Kashmiri terrorists.


A violent insurgency had been going on in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. Kidnappings of foreign tourists had been attempted by Kashmiri separatists, most notably the attempt to kidnap seven Israelis in 1991.[1] However, until this point the separatists had not kidnapped anybody outside of the disputed state.[2]

Three of those kidnapped, Paul Benjamin Ridout, Christopher Myles Croston and Rhys Partridge (Australian citizen of British heritage), were from Great Britain and a fourth, Béla Nuss, was an American from San Francisco, California.[3]


The tourists were all befriended by young British Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who was a member of Harkat-ul-Ansar and pretending to be an Indian under the name "Rohit Sharma".[4] He told them that his uncle had died and left a village for him. He then invited them to visit the village with him. The three Britons were taken to a village near Saharanpur and kept captive there by his associates.[5] Béla Nuss was the last to be kidnapped and was kept in Ghaziabad just outside Delhi.[6] The kidnappers demanded that the Indian government free ten militants imprisoned in Kashmir and threatened to behead their captives if the demand was not met.[2]


Béla Nuss was freed on 31 October when the police, while investigating a robbery, came across the house where he was being kept captive. After information given to the police by Nuss about other hostages being held, police staked out the house, captured one of the drivers, and the interrogation of two terrorists, later arrested at the site, led them to the village of Saharanpur, where the Britons were being held captive. Omar Saeed was also captured and wounded when he had returned to the Ghaziabad house to talk to Nuss after being informed that he had stopped eating four days before. Two policemen and a militant were killed in a pre-dawn shoot-out at the second location on 1 November. All the tourists were freed unhurt.[3]


Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh was incarcerated in Tihar Jail and stayed in prison till December 1999 when he was released in exchange for the passengers aboard hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814.[7] He subsequently was alleged to be involved in the murder of Daniel Pearl. He was sentenced to death on 14 July 2002 in Pakistan.[8] Three Pakistani militants belonging to Harkat-ul-Ansar were given death sentences and three others life sentences by a Delhi court in April 2002 for their roles in the kidnapping[9][10] Under CIA interrogation Khalid Sheikh Mohammad confessed to being the one who personally wielded the blade that killed Daniel Pearl.[11]

The kidnapping was the subject of a 2008 episode of the television series, Kidnapped Abroad.


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