On Friday evening, General Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat, were cremated at Delhi’s Brar Square Crematorium with full military honours. Kritika and Tarini, their daughters, carried out the cremation.
On the funeral pyre, the bodies of Gen Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defense Staff, and his wife were put side by side. Brigadier LS Lidder, the General’s top assistant, had been cremated hours earlier at the same crematorium. On Thursday, all three were killed, along with ten others, in a tragic chopper crash in Tamil Nadu.
A 17-gun salute was given to Gen Rawat as the flames soared. In accordance with the procedure, an extensive funeral ceremony involving 800 military members was held.
As military bugles sounded in the backdrop, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh stood in quiet respect after the bodies of the General and his wife were taken to the crematorium earlier today. High-ranking officers from allied countries, as well as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, paid their respects.
The bodies of Gen. Rawat and Madhulika Rawat were carried to their final resting place in a gun carriage decorated with flowers and draped with the national flag, which wound its way through the streets of the national capital as part of a solemn procession with military personnel marching alongside.
Civilians carrying the national flag and yelling ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘General Rawat Amar rahe’ (‘General Rawat shall live forever’) joined the military soldiers.
A sea of mourning descended on Gen Rawat’s home on Friday morning, where his wife and he lay in state for the public to pay their final respects. Amit Shah, the Home Minister, and Ajit Doval, the National Security Advisor, were among those who came to express their condolences.
Politicians from all parties, including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and the chief ministers of Uttarakhand (PS Dhami) and Delhi, came to express their sorrow (Arvind Kejriwal). General Rawat was born in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garwhal district.
On a C130-J Super Hercules transport plane, the bodies of Gen Rawat, his wife, and the 11 others who died in the crash were flown back to Delhi last night. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led honours in a brief but moving ceremony as the plane touched down.
So far, only Gen Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat, Brigadier LS Lidder, and Lance Naik Vivek Kumar have been recognised. Their bodies were handed over to their families for last rites. The remaining suspects will be held at the Army Base Hospital until they are identified. The solitary survivor, Group Captain Singh, was being treated at a military hospital in Wellington. He has been transported to Bengaluru’s Air Force Command Hospital. Officials said the Group Captain is stable but still in serious condition.