IAF pilot, killed in MiG-21 crash, cremated in his ancestral village in Baghpat

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Baghpat (UP), May 22 (PTI) The last rites of IAF fighter pilot Abhinav Choudhary, killed in a MiG-21 crash in Moga district of Punjab, were performed with full military honours at his ancestral village Pusar with people bidding a final farewell to the braveheart with moist eyes.

The funeral pyre of 28-year-old Squadron Leader Choudhary was lit by his uncle Sube Singh who cried inconsolably along with the pilot’s father and other family members amidst the raising of slogans like ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and “shaheed Abhinav Choudhary amar rahein (long live martyr Abhinav Choudhary)”.

Squadron Leader Choudhary was killed after his MiG-21 Bison crashed in Moga district during a night combat training sorties late Thursday night.

Earlier on Saturday morning, his body, wrapped in the tricolour, was taken by IAF officials from the Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad to his family residence at Gangasagar in Meerut where his inconsolably crying family members, including father Satendra Chaudhary, mother Satya Chaudhary, wife Sonika Ujjaval and sister Mudrika, received it.

After keeping the body briefly at the Meerut residence for people to bid the last farewell to the martyred pilot, the IAF officials began the drive for the pilot’s ancestral village.

Though the IAF had made arrangements for family members to be taken to Baghpat in a separate vehicle, the pilot’s distraught father insisted upon accompanying the body in the same vehicle.

On the way to the village, the locals stood along the road holding tricolour in their hands to see the braveheart pilot one last time after his life was cut short in the crash. The body reached the village at 11.30 am. There was also a steady flow of people to Pusar from the far-flung villages in the area to pay homage to the martyred pilot.

MLAs Sahendra Singh Ramala and Yogesh Dhama, BKU’s national spokesperson Rakesh Tikait were among the prominent people who paid tributes gto the pilot.

Abhinav had joined the IAF in 2014. He was currently stationed at Pathankot Airbase.

Abhinav was opposed to various social maladies, including the dowry system and in his marriage in December 2019 had taken just one rupee as part of the ritual, people close to the family said.

Abhinav had joined the service in 2014. He was currently stationed at Pathankot Airbase.

After the news of his death reached his father Satendra Chaudhary in Meerut on Friday, he had said many IAF pilots had to fly outdated aircraft, risking their lives.

The MiG-21 crash in which Sqn Ldr Choudhary was killed was the third accident this year. Over 400 MiG-21s have crashed since 1971-72, killing over 200 pilots and 50 civilians on the ground. PTI CORR SAB RAX RAX

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