New Delhi: Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday laid wreaths on the mortal remains of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat, who were among the 13 killed in the military chopper crash in Tamil Nadu.
The mortal remains of Gen Rawat and his wife were kept at their official residence here before cremation.
Outside Gen Rawat’s residence, people raised slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Gen Rawat amar rahe’, and ‘Uttarakhand ka heera amar rahe’.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad and British Ambassador to India Alexander Ellis was among the other leaders who paid their last respects to Gen Rawat and his wife.
Former Defence Minister A K Antony, DMK leader Kanimozhi, Haryana Chief Minister M L Khattar, BJP leader Baijayant Jay Panda, Delhi LG Anil Baijal, Minister of State Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale, also paid their respects to Rawat and his wife.
“It’s a terrible and an irreparable loss to the country at a crucial time,” Antony said.
Paying his respects to Gen Rawat, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge described him as a “good man”.
“It is a loss to the nation, he was a pride of the nation,” Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said after paying tributes.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also laid their wreaths on the mortal remains of Gen Rawat and his wife.
Gen Rawat, his wife, and 11 other defence personnel were killed when a Mi17V5 helicopter carrying them crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
As India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Rawat was tasked to bring in theatre command and jointness among the three services, and he was pushing it with a tough approach and specific timelines in the last two years.
Known to be forthright, fearless, and blunt at times, the 63-year-old strongly backed a policy of hot pursuit in dealing with cross-border terrorism and militancy in Jammu and Kashmir when he was the Army Chief between 2016 and 2019.