People in large numbers were heard chanting 'Vande Mataram', 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Jai Hind' when the bodies of the 13 helicopter crash victims including that of General Bipin Rawat, India's first chief of defence staff, his wife, and other armed force personnel reached Sulur air force station on Thursday.
Women from nearby villages who reached the Sulur Air Force station premises to pay their last respects to the departed soldiers, cried and then raised 'Jai Hind' and 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' slogans. Some of the men present were also raised slogans of 'Vande Mataram' when the bodies reached Sulur Air Force station.
Purushothaman Pillai, a Keralite living in Sulur and working in a private firm said, "It was a really tragic moment. General Bipin Rawat was an officer who was the face of the Indian Army and had strong opinion against our enemy nations. You can see people in large numbers paying their last respects to the departed soldiers".
Armed forces personnel also paid tributes to the departed souls at the Sulur air station. Nine bodies, according to armed forces, are beyond recognition and DNA tests would be conducted at New Delhi before the bodies will be handed over to their relatives.
All the dead bodies will be brought to New Delhi and after DNA tests and identification, they will be handed over to their kin.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, and other ministers, bureaucrats, and armed forces personnel will receive the bodies at the technical area of Palam air station in New Delhi on Thursday evening.
The bodies of General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat will be kept at their official residence at Kamaraj Marg, New Delhi from 12 noon to 2 p.m. on Friday for the general public to pay their last respects. The funeral will be held at the Lodhi crematorium on Friday evening.