An AN32 Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft with 13 personnel aboard – which had gone missing in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3 – has still not been traced. It has been six days now, but there is no sign of any serious concern by the government or the media. The prime minister and the defence minister have not yet taken the country’s sentiments into consideration, and no big statement by either of them has been released yet.
As for the media, which spares no opportunity to wax eloquent or milk any little scratch on the Armed Forces to get higher TRPs, seems to be looking the other way. Why?
Considering that the unfortunate incident happened just days after an election that saw the armed forces being politicised by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and PM Modi – even after the Election Commission warned political parties against doing so – this silence of the graveyard in government corridors has stirred a debate on social media.
The Russian made AN32 aircraft, according to IAF sources, took off from Jorhat in Assam on Monday, June 3, at 12.25 noon and lost contact with the air control at around 1 pm. After that, there has been no sign of it.
According to news reports, villagers in Arunachal Pradesh said they saw black smoke billowing from a hill.
State Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Thursday that three people in Tumbin village said they saw black smoke billowing from a hill, and that the government was verifying this.
Three search teams are engaged in trying to find the wherabouts of the missing IAF aircraft, in case it has crashed.
Incidentally, Sandhya, the wife of the missing aircraft pilot, Ashish Tanwar, was on duty at the Air Traffic Control office when he took off that day. They had got married only last year.
As each day passes, the loved ones and families of all the persons aboard the missing aircraft are getting more and more anxious. They are hoping for some authoritative information from the government about the fate of the aircraft.
The unfortunate incident has stirred up sharp comments on social media, with people questioning the Modi 2.0 government and the media for their ‘muted’ response to the tragedy. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh did tweet on the first day expressing his concern, but since then, their has been no significant statement from either the prime minister or the defence minister.
Angry and upset, people are asking if cricket is more important for the media than the life of IAF personnel.
I wonder why no newspaper/newschannels is talking about #AN32Aircraft #AN32missing #an32
Is this the value of those onboard?That we don't even talk about them?
Is #cricket more important than soldiers?#worldcup or #an32?
Wld it b same if thr was 1politician on board?@IAF_MCC
— RAJEV PAUL (@Rajev_Paul) June 7, 2019
Five days on, no trace of missing #AN32 of @IAF_MCC @DefenceMinIndia @rajnathsingh #AN32missing #AN32Aircraft #IndianAirForce https://t.co/odCNwNisDO
— DefenceAviationPost (@DefencePost) June 8, 2019
After using Armed forces as vote catchers, the #ModiSarkar2 has dumped them.. where are the missing IAF personnel? #AN32missing https://t.co/DVSZoZ8spU
— WohBoli=Termite (@ShoshitBoli) June 8, 2019
As there is still no trace of the missing aircraft, the hopes of all the near and dear ones of those aboard are dwindling. That inclement weather is making things bad for the search teams, the muted response from a ‘nationalistic’ government and the media is making matters worse. People continue to ask if the pre-poll fervour of ‘nationalism’ has also disappeared under ‘cloud cover’!
(with inputs from PTI)