On 1 February, two pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) lost their lives when their Mirage-2000 fighter jet crashed on the runway of the Yemalur-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility.

The two pilots, Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi and Squadron Leader Samir Abrol, were on a training sortie. Reports say that the crash happened even before they could take-off. Both pilots ejected from the fighter but got engulfed in the flames when the aircraft exploded.

A pall of gloom descended on the families of the pilots. Tributes poured in for the families from across the country. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on 5 February called on the families of both Sqn Ldr Abrol and Sqn Ldr Negi.

 

 

But the pain of losing a loved one can probably be felt only by those closest to the person. Reflecting that pain, Sqn Ldr Negi’s wife, Squadron Leader Dhruvika Raj, made an emotional post on Facebook.

“Siddhartha wherever you are… I want you to know that I miss you so much…” she wrote.

“Samir sir I hope you guys are having fun and taking great care of each other in the heaven leaving us Garima here at the crossroads of life..” added Dhruvika.

 

(Photo: Facebook/@delusion.rhymer)

Garima, whom Dhruvika mentioned in her post, is the wife of Sqn Ldr Samir Abrol.

Many commented on Dhruvika’s post expressing their grief at her loss as well as that of the nation while urging her to stay strong.

 

 

(Photo: Facebook/@delusion.rhymer)

While Dhruvika expressed her grief, Garima had on 10 February raised significant questions in an emotional Facebook post.

“How many more of these pilots have to give up their life to shake you up and make you realise there is something really wrong in the system? A pilot is not made in a day, it takes a decade of training for their souls to get molded for the job…How many fighters have to give up their life for you to wake up?” she wrote raising major questions for the government.

“I do not want any other sister of the Armed Force family to suffer the pain that I am going through,” read Garima’s post.

She also wrote how the deaths of Sqn Ldr Samir and Sqn Ldr Negi would be forgotten with time.

“Such is the job of a soldier…it does not bring you fame…no one cries when you leave but the family…It does not make you a celebrity…the media covers it for a day and drops it just like they have done for the pilots who have met the same untimely fate before Samir…Then everyone forgets about it,” she wrote.


Garima’s Facebook went viral in no time. At the time of writing it had been reshared 13K times.

The aircraft that was being flown by the two pilots had been upgraded by HAL.

Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha Rajeev Chandrasekhar had on 5 February submitted a Zero Hour request in Parliament to discuss the crash.

In his request, Chandrasekhar called for a “thorough and transparent inquiry into the crash of the HAL upgraded IAF fighter in Bengaluru and consequent loss of life of two brave Air Warriors of the IAF”.

Read More: MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar calls for thorough, transparent inquiry into IAF Mirage crash at HAL

“My sources say Aircrft was on 2nd acceptnce air test aftr upgrade. One oleo (wheel) came off durng takeoff n it veered off runway. Pilots ejected both parachutes caught fire in the debris of a/c. If families wnt accoutblty frm HAL – wll ensure legal spprt for thm,” he had tweeted a day after the crash.