Nashik (Maharashtra), March 1 (IANS) Thousands bid an emotional farewell to IAF pilot, Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, who was cremated with full military honours here on Friday, officials said.
Mandavgane, the pilot of a MI-17 V5 helicopter, was one of the six airmen killed after the chopper crashed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Badgam district on Wednesday.
As the last rites began, the bugle sounded the ‘Last Post’, airmen reversed their rifles to pay tribute to Mandavgane, who was in his early 30s, amid cries of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Shahid Ninad Amar Rahe’.
Mandavgane’s two-year old daughter, Nia kissed his coffin as her mother Vijeta, her (paternal) uncle Neerav and grandparents stood beside her stoically.
Present at the funeral were top dignitaries and officials including Nashik Guardian Minister Girish Mahajan and collector B. Radhakrishnan.
Earlier, Vijeta Mandavgane urged the social media ‘warriors’ to show restraint and not whip up sentiments.
“We don’t want a war. You don’t know the damages of war. We don’t want more Ninads to go. Social media warriors, please stop. If you want war, go to the front,” she said.
Mandavagane completed his schooling from the Bhonsala Military School, Nashik. He graduated in mechanical engineering from the Services Preparatory Institute, Aurangabad, and was commissioned in the helicopter wing of the IAF in December 2009.
Over the years, he flew HPT-32, Chetak, MI-8, MI17, MI-171v, and MI-17v5 helicopters. He participated in the anti-Maoist strikes during ‘Operation Triveni’.
He also undertook air maintenance missions to sustain the forces deployed in the northeast and was last posted in Srinagar, flying the MI-17V5 helicopters.
Besides flying, he was a national-level hockey player.