Updated: June 1, 2021 11:43:34 am
Days after Indian Air Force (IAF) Squadron Leader Abhinav Chaudhary died after the MiG-21 Bison fighter jet he was flying crashed, the 29-year-old pilot’s friends have started an online petition, demanding that the jet be discontinued from the force.
The online petition ‘Mig 21 aircrafts should be discontinued’ has already been signed by more than 15,000 people. Chaudhary’s friends say the petition is not only about the deceased pilot, but is about “every single pilot still risking their life by flying MiG-21s”.
The online petition reads, “…We lost another young pilot, Squadron Leader Abhinav Chaudhary. He was the only son of his parents. Each year, a number of our fighter pilots are being killed during crashes… Still our young pilots in the IAF squad are being allowed to train on one of the oldest fighter planes in the country… I appeal to the government that these accident-prone aircraft should no longer be allowed by the Indian Air Force.”
Software engineer Anupriya Batra, a childhood friend of Chaudhary’s from his hometown of Meerut, told The Indian Express, “Since May 21, when the deadly crash occurred, memories of Abhinav sitting in front of the television and watching the cartoon ‘Swat Kats’ for hours come to my mind. It was in our school days itself that he had decided to be a pilot… He would always fly them (MiG-21s) with great pride like every IAF pilot does. But the question is how many more such young, bright and passionate pilots will be lost because of these obsolete jets?”
Priyesh Jain, another childhood friend from Meerut, says the petition is not just about Chaudhary, but for each pilot risking their lives while flying MiGs. “The question is how many more lives will be lost this way before these jets will be phased out. Like Abhinav, each pilot flying these jets is risking his/her life and it’s deplorable if these jets will continue to fly even after the irreparable loss we have suffered,” he said.
Another friend, requesting anonymity, said, “We believe the jet developed some snag and to avert a major tragedy and loss of lives, he delayed his ejection till there were open fields. He saved many lives and gave his own. We request everyone to support this petition so that our voice reaches the Union government.”
Meanwhile, residents of village Langeana in Moga, where the crash occurred, are planning to install a statue of Chaudhary as a tribute to the pilot.
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