NEW DELHI, DEC 10 (PTI): The nation on Friday bid farewell to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Brig. Lakhwinder Singh Lidder as they were laid to rest with full military honours at Brar Square crematorium in Delhi cantonment.
As per protocol, Gen Rawat was accorded a 17-gun salute at the funeral where 800 service personnel were in attendance. A ceremonial battery of 2233 Field Regiment provided the gun carriage.
His daughters Kritika and Tarini performed Rawat and his wife Madhulika’s last rites, as both were cremated on a single pyre.
Family members of Gen. Rawat have planned to take his ashes to Haridwar on Saturday after completion of cremation rituals in Delhi, Tarini told PTI.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh, Union minister Kiren Rijiju, Ambassador of France to India Emmanuel Lenain, and British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis were among several others who paid tribute to Gen Rawat and his wife at the crematorium.
Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and a host of other dignitaries also laid wreaths on the mortal remains of Gen Rawat and his wife.
Defence officials of several countries also paid tribute to them.
The final journey of Gen Rawat and his wife began amid chants of ‘Jab tak suraj chand rahega, Rawat ji ka naam rahega’.
Prior to the funeral procession, several people who had gathered outside the official residence of Gen. Rawat, raised slogans of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, ‘Gen Rawat amar rahe’, and ‘Uttarakhand ka heera amar rahe’, while dignitaries paid floral tributes and last respects till the funeral procession left the bungalow.
Earlier in the morning, Brigadier L S Lidder was cremated with full military honours at the Brar Square crematorium.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Haryana chief minister M L Khattar were among those who laid wreaths on Lidder’s mortal remains, which was kept at Brar Square in Delhi cantonment before the cremation. Many senior defence personnel also paid their last respects to Lidder.
“We must give him a good farewell… a smiling send-off” – Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder’s wife, Geetika Lidder, said as she and her 16-year-old daughter, Aashna, said goodbye to the senior Army officer at Delhi’s Brar Square Crematorium.
‘Smiling Send-Off’: Courageous wife of crash victim Brigadier LS Lidder
NEW DELHI, DEC 10 ( AGENCIES): “We must give him a good farewell… a smiling send-off” – Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder’s wife, Geetika Lidder, said this morning as she and her 16-year-old daughter, Aashna, said goodbye to the senior Army officer at Delhi’s Brar Square Crematorium, reports NDTV.
Mournful visuals showed Mrs Lidder in tears kneeling by the head of her husband’s coffin, which was draped with the national flag and decked with flowers. Aashna was by her mother’s side, fighting back tears of her own as she let a handful of rose petals fall through her fingers and on to her father’s coffin.
“He was larger than life… everybody knows that. You can see how many came to say goodbye. He had a wonderful personality… was loved by everyone,” Mrs Lidder, her voice wracked with grief, said.
“I am a soldier’s wife…” she said, displaying immeasurable bravery on so harrowing a day.
“There is more sadness than pride… life now is very long but… whatever. If this is what God wants, we will live with this loss. But this is not the way we wanted him back,” she said, choking back tears.
“If it was not meant to be… I don’t know. But my child will miss him. He was a very good father.”
Aashna Lidder, calm and composed in the face of this tragedy, was with her mother at the crematorium in Delhi Cantonment earlier today, where she comforted her mother as she grieved.
“I am going to be 17. So he was with me for 17 years… we will go ahead with happy memories. It’s a national loss. My father was a hero, my best friend. Maybe it was destined and better things will come our way. He was my biggest motivator,” she said then.
Earlier Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval and Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar were among those to pay their respects. A long line of military officials, including the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, also paid tribute, marching in stoic sequence to lay a wreath at his feet.
Brigadier Lidder, 52, was one of the 13 who died in Wednesday’s horrific chopper crash in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiri Hills. The crash also claimed the lives of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife, Madhulika Rawat, and nine other Air Force personnel.
There is only one survivor from the chopper crash – Group Captain Varun Singh – is being treated for severe burn injuries at the Air Force’s Command Hospital in Bengaluru.