New Delhi: The tragic deaths of squadron leader Samir Abrol and Siddhartha Negi in a Mirage-2000 crash in Bengaluru on February 1 have made netizens question the deteriorating condition of fighter jets in the country. Families of the pilots have also decided to raise awareness about the sorry state of affairs at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Abrol's brother Sushant had started #lostpilots and it has been gaining traction on social media. Sushant said that he wanted to highlight the need to provide the pilots with safe planes through the hashtag. 

The family also clarified that they are not pointing out an individual for the mishap but they want to draw the attention towards such accidents, which are increasingly becoming very frequent. 

A poem by Sushant has gone viral. In the poem, he said that while the bureaucracy enjoys “cheese and wine”, the air warriors are given “outdated machines” to fly. Abrol's wife Garima, who is a Zumba instructor and a physiotherapist, also posted the poem on her Instagram account. 

Sushant wrote the poem while flying back with his brother’s coffin from Bengaluru. "Never had he breathed so heavy, as for the last time.  While the bureaucracy enjoyed its corrupt cheese and wine. We give our warriors outdated machines to fight. They still deliver it with all their prowess and might," read an excerpt from the poem.

He also wrote, "We give our warriors outdated machines to fight, they still deliver it with all their prowess and might…Unforgiving and thankless is a job of a test pilot. Someone has to risk it to show others the light…Never had he breathed so heavy, as for the last time, while the bureaucracy enjoyed its corrupt cheese and wine."

Sushant told media that there were eight other officers on the flight. “I realised it could have happened with one of them also. It is not the family’s loss but a loss for the Air Force, for his friends,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the family is waiting for the court of inquiry report on the crash. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the families of the two deceased pilots on February 5.

Sushant also shared a post by Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Facebook, in which the minister said that the martyrdom of the two pilots will never be forgotten. “Will the people responsible for the loss of our family be made accountable? Will we witness a fair and just inquiry without any government or bureaucratic influence? Will the report be shared with the family? How will the government and the system make sure we don’t witness any such incident in the future?” he asked.

The Mirage-2000 has been a trusted aircraft for several decades. It also played a crucial role during the Kargil war when it dropped laser bombs on Pakistan pockets along the Line of Control.