India's first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat were laid to rest after their last rites were performed with full military honours, including 17 gun salutes by tri-services personnel at Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment on Friday. The funeral pyres were lit by their daughter following a rendition of the 'Last Post' and 'Rouse' by tri-services buglers.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid homage to the deceased at the crematorium and laid a wreath. "Paid my last respects to General Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat. General Rawat devoted his life to serving and protecting our nation. India will remember his courage, valour and patriotism. Farewell General," Singh tweeted.
A funeral procession was taken out from the General's residence on K Kamraj Road to the Delhi cantonment. A total of 99 officers of all ranks from the Army, Navy and Air force, and 33 members of the tri-services band were the front escort, while 99 officers of all ranks from the three services acted as the rear escort. Twelve officers from the Army, Navy and Air Force of the rank of Brigadier and equivalent were on vigil duty.
A ceremonial battery of 2,233 Field Regiment provided gun carriage after the mortal remains reached the crematorium. In attendance at the funeral were senior military commanders from Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Messages of grief have poured in from many more countries, including the US, the UK, China, France, Japan and Israel. 800 service personnel attended the funeral.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, Union Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey and many others paid their last respects to General Rawat and his wife at their residence in Delhi earlier in the day.
General Rawat, Madhulika Rawat and 11 other armed forces personnel were killed in the IAF chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
The mortal remains of another victim of the tragic crash, Brigadier L.S. Lidder, was also laid to rest with full military honours at Brar Square. Only Lance Naik Vivek Kumar's body has been identified in addition to the other three so far. The bodies of the deceased will be released to the families for last rites while others will be kept at the Army Base Hospital till identified.
The sole survivor, Group Captain Singh, is being treated at the military hospital in Wellington. He has been airlifted to the Air Force's Command Hospital in Bengaluru and remains in critical but stable condition since the crash.