Vijeta Mandavgane, the wife of fallen Air Force officer Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane has made a desperate plea to India’s war-mongers to desist from their campaign to push India into war. Speaking to reporters soon after her husband was cremated in Maharashtra Nashik, Vijeta said that anyone advocating war should join the armed forces to realise ‘how it really feels.’
She said, “Today I have lost someone in the war, yesterday someone else had lost and tomorrow another family will lose their loved ones. But I have a request to all Facebook warriors. Please, stop fighting the war on Facebook and social media. You will achieve nothing from this. If you are indeed motivated by patriotism, then go and join the armed forces and do it yourselves to know how it feels.”
She added, “We do not want war. You have no idea about the damages of war. No other Ninad should go from either side.”
Vijeta said that she had spoken to her husband in the morning of 27 February but fallen Indian Air Force officer told her that he was busy and will speak in the afternoon. By the afternoon, the news of Indian military helicopter’s crash was being broadcast on every media outlet.
Squadron Leader Mandavgane was one of the pilots of the Mi 17 military helicopter, which crashed soon after its take-off on 27 February. The 33-year-old officer is survived by his father, wife and a daughter, who turned two only last week. His funeral was held in Maharashtra’s Nashik with full military honours on Friday. The pilot was also given a 21-gun salute.
Other IAF personnel killed in the crash were Squadron leader Siddharth Vashisht from Chandigarh, Seargent Vikrant Sehrawat from Haryana, Corporals Pankaj Kumar of Mathura and Deepak Kumar of Kanpur, both in Uttar Pradesh. Vishal Kumar Pandey, an enginner with the IAF, hailed from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi.
A statement from the Indian Air Force had said the helicopter was on its routine mission adding that a court of inquiry had been ordered to investigate the accident.
Vijeta’s comments are a firm reply to war-mongers even in the Indian media such as Arnab Goswami of Republic TV, Times Now and other pro-government TV channels that have been calling the Indian government to attack Pakistan. One wonders if Vijeta’s pleas will have any takers in the Indian TV media.