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Video: Daughter of Lt Colonel Harjinder Singh, who died in General Rawat’s helicopter crash, performs his last rites

Daughter of Lt Colonel Harjinder Singh performs his last rites.

The profound grief and anguish of the people of India over the demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 11 other brave-hearts, only deepened yesterday when Preet Kaur, the 12-year-old daughter of the Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, who also passed away in the helicopter crash, performed the last rites on Sunday.



Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt and the chiefs of the armed forces also were present at the ceremony paid their last respects to Lieutenant Colonel Singh.

The defence minister also met the late colonel’s family including his wife Major Agnes P Menezes (retd) to offer his condolences.

The fortitude with which the family members of all those who perished in the crash near Coonoor in the Nilgiri hills on December 8 have conducted themselves and provided emotional support to each other has touched a billion hearts among compatriots.

A grieving Major Agnes had herself attended the funerals of General Rawat, his wife Madhulika and the CDS’s defence assistant Brigadier LS Lidder at Brar Square three days ago, at a time when her own husband’s body had not been identified. But it was the gen-next—the children of the deceased martyrs who set an example of uncommon dignity and exceptional stoicism in the face of heart-wrenching grief.

General Rawat’s daughters Kritika and Tarini, setting aside their irreplaceable personal loss visited colonel Singh’s home in Delhi Cantt in solidarity with Major Agnes and her daughter Preet in their darkest hour.

Only a day earlier, the two Rawat sisters and Kritika’s husband Ankit Singh had returned from Hardwar after immersing the ashes of their parents in Ganga in Haridwar. The last rites of General Rawat and his wife, Brigadier Lidder were also performed by their daughters, who demonstrated unspeakable resilience and extraordinary courage while coping with overwhelming tragedy.

“Paid tributes to Lt Colonel 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 wrote on Twitter.

Thirteen people were killed in the Coonoor crash. The only survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is battling for his life at the Air Force Command Hospital at Bengaluru.

The others killed in the crash were Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan (pilot), Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh (co-pilot), Junior Warrant Officers Rana Pratap Das and Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik B Sai Teja.