The final rites of India’s first chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat were performed at the Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment on Friday. General Rawat was killed along with his wife Madhulika and 11 other military personnel in a chopper crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu’s Niligiris district on Wednesday.
The CDS was accorded a sombre 17-gun salute in line with protocol. About 800 service personnel took part in the cremation ceremony. The Last Post and Rouse were played by tri-services buglers, following which the funeral pyre was lit by her daughters Kritika and Tarini.
Before this, defence minister Rajnath Singh paid his tribute at the crematorium. Other members of the family also joined the daughters in paying their last respects.
Their mortal remains were brought from their residence in a gun carriage decked with flowers with hundreds of mourners joining the funeral procession as it proceeded towards the crematorium. Citizens were seen chanting “jab tak suraj chaand rahega, Bipin ji ka naam rahega”. The bodies were kept at the residence till 2pm for people to pay their last rites.
Along with about 800 service personnel, Singh, law minister Kiren Rijiju, ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain and British high commissioner to India Alex Ellis were in attendance for the military funeral.
Top military commanders of Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh also joined the CDS in his final journey.
Earlier in the day, politicians cutting across party lines, envoys and clerics paid their tribute to General Rawat and his wife at their residence.
Union ministers Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman, Mansukh Mandaviya, Smriti Irani, Narendra Singh Tomar and Sarbananda Sonowal went the Rawats’ residence to pay their last respects.
Several political leaders like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Uttarakhand CM Pushkar Singh Dhami, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Mallikarjun Kharge and Harish Singh Rawat, BJP chief JP Nadda and DMK leaders A Raja and Kanimozhi, among others, laid a wreath on the mortal remains of the CDS and his wife.
The Army said the mortal remains of only three persons — General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Brigadier Lidder — had been positively identified so far.Brigadier Lidder was cremated earlier in the day with full military honour.