Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde led the nation in paying tributes to the twenty bravehearts, who died in Tuesday's chopper crash while rescuing stranded people in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand.
Shinde, Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Vijay Bahuguna, Army chief General Bikram Singh, senior officials of the army, air force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and National Disaster Management Authority paid their respect to the personnel at a special function organised by the Uttarakhand government and NDMA.
The 'guard of honour'-- a ceremonial mark of respect -- to the five air force, six ITBP and nine National Disaster Response Force personnel was led by Shinde. The NDRF personnel were from ITBP on deputation to NDRF.
Those killed in the chopper crash included Wg Cdr Darryl Castelino, Flt Lt K Praveen, Flt Lt Tapan Kapoor, JWO A K Singh, Sgt Sudhakar Yadav (all IAF).
The men from NDRF who died were Commandant Nitya Nand Gupta, Inspector Bhim Singh, Sub Inspector Satish Kumar, Constables K Vinaygan, Bassavaraj Yaragatti, Santosh Kumar Paswan, Sanjiva Kumar, Shashi Kant Ramesh Pawar and Ahir Rao Ganesh.
Six ITBP personnel who lost their lives were Commandant Nand Ram, Sub Inspector Jayender Prasad, Constables Jomon P G, Bibhuti Roy, Sarvesh Kumar and Ajay Lal.
The sophisticated Mi-17V5 helicopter of IAF had crashed in bad weather during a rescue mission in the flood-ravaged hill state.
Shinde said the nation would not forget the supreme sacrifice of these 20 brave men who gave their lives while rescuing thousands of people in the Uttarakhand floods. "The guard of honour to the 20 bravehearts is a little step from our side to remember their supreme sacrifice for the service of the nation. We offer our prayer to all those who lost their lives," he said.
Image: The chopper crashed during rescue operations in flood-hit Uttarakhand
Photograph: TV grab