The wife of an Air Force officer who was among the seven killed when an Mi-17 chopper crashed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam last week sent out a strong message to those who are using social media to vent their anger over the India-Pakistan tension. Vijeta Mandavgane’s husband, Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, was cremated with full military honours in Maharashtra’s Nashik on Friday.
Vijeta Mandavgane urged social media users to show restraint and not whip up sentiments.
“There is a lot happening on social media and on TV. Media acts responsible and sometimes don’t. You shout slogans. Instead of that, if you truly want to bring about change, for my Ninad, for WC Abhinandan and the martyrs, do a small thing. Either join the forces or make your family members join the forces. If you can’t, then at least bring about small changes around you to help the nation. You can keep your surroundings clean, not litter the roads, not urinate in the public, not harassing girls,” Ms Mandavgane told reporters. The message was widely shared online.
Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane was among the six Air Force officers killed after a Russian made Mi-17 crashed in an open field near Garend Kalaan village in Budgam on Wednesday. A civilian too was killed.
As the Squadron Leader’s last rites began, the bugle sounded the “Last Post” and airmen reversed their rifles to pay tribute to the officer amid cries of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Shahid Ninad Amar Rahe“.
His two-year old daughter Nia kissed his coffin as his wife, her uncle and grandparents stood beside her stoically.
“We don’t want a war. You don’t know the damages of war. We don’t want more Ninads to go. Social media warriors, please stop. If you want war, go to the front,” Vijeta Mandavgane was quoted as saying by news agency IANS.
A large number of people, including top officials, were gathered at the crematorium to pay respects to the pilot.
Ninad Mandavgane, 33, completed his schooling from the Bhonsala Military School in Nashik. He graduated in mechanical engineering from the Services Preparatory Institute in Aurangabad, and was commissioned in the helicopter wing of the Air Force in December 2009.