NASHIK: Vijeta Mandavgane, the widow of fallen Air Force officer Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane strongly condemning war-mongering over social media platforms.
Thousands bid an emotional farewell to Mandavgane, the pilot of a MI-17 V5 helicopter, who died along with the other five airmen after the chopper crashed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Badgam district on Wednesday.
Vijeta urged the social media ‘warriors’ to show restraint and not whip up sentiments.
“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,” she said.
As the last rites began, the bugle sounded the ‘Last Post’, airmen reversed their rifles to pay tribute to Mandavgane, who was in his early 30s, amid cries of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai‘ and ‘Shahid Ninad Amar Rahe’.
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“Slogan-shouting and screaming ‘zindabad’ or ‘murdabad’ will not make any difference. If you really want to do something, join the defence forces. Or encourage someone in your family to do so. If that is not possible, small things could help – keep your surroundings clean, don’t litter, don’t urinate in the open, and do not harass women. Stop spreading communal hatred. Small gestures go a long way,” the young widow said while interacting with media.
Vijeta’s comments are a firm reply to war-mongers crying for war from the comfort of social media and even the other pro-government TV channels.
Mandavagane completed his schooling from the Bhonsala Military School, Nashik. He graduated in mechanical engineering from the Services Preparatory Institute, Aurangabad, and was commissioned in the helicopter wing of the IAF in December 2009.
Over the years, he flew HPT-32, Chetak, MI-8, MI17, MI-171v, and MI-17v5 helicopters. He participated in the anti-Maoist strikes during ‘Operation Triveni’.
He also undertook air maintenance missions to sustain the forces deployed in the northeast and was last posted in Srinagar, flying the MI-17V5 helicopters.
Besides flying, he was a national-level hockey player.
With agency inputs