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Ians

Odisha Assembly on Thursday paid homage to Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others who died in the Mi-17V5 helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday afternoon.

Moving an obituary reference in the Assembly, Chief Minister and leader of the House Naveen Patnaik said: "He (Gen Rawat) had an extremely distinguished career of over four decades of selfless service marked by exceptional gallantry. He was conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, and many prestigious awards. He expired on December 8, 2021 at the age of 63."

Terming the sad demise of General Rawat and all 11 other armed personnel an "irreparable" loss to the nation, Patnaik said: "Their outstanding service to our nation will always be remembered."

He requested Speaker SN Patro to kindly let the House pay sincere condolences to the members of the bereaved families.

BJP chief whip Mohan Charan Majhi, Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra and CPI (M) member Laxman Munda too joined the leader of the House in mourning.

"Demise of Defence Chief General Bipin Rawat is a great loss to the country. His untimely death by crashing of an IAF chopper indicates the serious failure somewhere or a part of conspiracy. If this could happen to the chief of the defence force, naturally the question arises how safe we are," said Mishra in the House.

The Assembly observed a minute of silence as a mark of respect to the departed souls and then adjourned till 4 p.m.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed grief at the death of Junior Warrant Officer (JWO) Rana Pratap Das, who was from Odisha, in the incident.

"While the country is yet to come to terms with the unfortunate IAF chopper crash yesterday, I also mourn the demise of JWO Rana Pratap Das who lost his life along with CDS Gen Rawat, his wife and other defence personnel. Shri Das was from my hometown in Talcher, Odisha," Pradhan said in a tweet.

As an exceptional gentleman, Das served the nation with courage, commitment and diligence. With his passing away, the country has lost a fine IAF officer and Odisha a brave son, he said. Pradhan offered his deepest condolences to family & friends of Das.

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