Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, the staff officer to the late Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, was on Sunday cremated with full military honours in Delhi’s Brar Square, four days after the Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris district, which led to the demise of 13 out of 14 people on board, including General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Lt Col Singh.
The army officer’s daughter performed her father’s last rites, news agency ANI reported.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh, the three service chiefs and other military officials were among those who paid tribute to Lt Colonel Singh, who is survived by his daughter, Preet Kaur, and wife, Agnel P Manezes, who retired from the Indian Army as a major.
“Paid tributes to Lt. Col Harjinder Singh who died in the tragic helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu. His untimely demise is extremely saddening. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. May God give them strength to bear this massive loss,” the defence minister tweeted.
Wednesday’s crash took place when General Rawat, the country’s first and sitting CDS, was on his way to the Wellington-based Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) to deliver a lecture. The 10 others who lost their lives in this tragedy were Brigadier LS Lidder, Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan (pilot), Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh (co-pilot), Junior Warrant Officers Rana Pratap Das and Arakkal Pradeep, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh and Naik Jitendra Kumar.
Group Captain Varun Singh, the sole survivor, is currently under treatment at a military hospital in Bengaluru, where is condition is said to be ‘critical.’
The IAF has constituted a tri-service Court of Inquiry (CoI) to probe the crash. It will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh.