Days after Indian Air Force (IAF) squadron leader Abhinav Chaudhary died after the MiG-21 Bison fighter he was piloting crashed, friends of the 29-year-old pilot launched an online petition, demanding that the jet be forcibly stopped.
The online petition “Mig 21 planes should be discontinued” has already been signed by more than 15,000 people. Chaudhary’s friends say the petition is not just about the deceased pilot, but that “every pilot still risks his or her life flying MiG-21s.”
The online petition reads: “… We have lost another young pilot, Squadron Leader Abhinav Chaudhary. He was the only son of his parents. Every year, a number of our fighter pilots are killed in accidents… Yet our young pilots from the IAF squad are allowed to train on one of the oldest fighter planes in the country… I urge the government that these accident prone planes should no longer be authorized by the Indian Air Force. “
Software engineer Anupriya Batra, a childhood friend of Chaudhary from his hometown of Meerut, told The Indian Express: “Since May 21, when the fatal accident happened, memories of Abhinav sat watching TV and watching the cartoon ‘Swat Kats’ for hours come to mind. It was at the time of our school itself that he decided to become a pilot… He would always fly them (MiG-21) with great pride like all IAF pilots do. But the question is, how many more pilots so young, bright and passionate will be lost to these outdated jets?
Priyesh Jain, another childhood friend of Meerut, says the petition is not just about Chaudhary, but that every pilot risks their lives flying MiGs. “The question is how many lives will be lost in this way before these jets are phased out. Like Abhinav, every pilot flying these jets risks their life and it is deplorable if these jets continue to fly even after an irreparable loss that we have suffered, ”he said.
Another friend, requesting anonymity, said: “We believe the plane has developed a problem and to avoid major tragedy and loss of life, it has delayed its ejection until there are open fields. He saved many lives and gave his own. We ask everyone to support this petition so that our voice reaches the government of the Union. “
Meanwhile, residents of Langeana village in Moga, where the crash happened, plan to install a statue of Chaudhary in tribute to the pilot.