Coonoor (TN): Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, and military personnel among others on Thursday paid floral tributes to Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others killed in an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter crash near here on December 8.

The mortal remains of General Rawat and the others were later taken to Coimbatore by road from where they were flown to New Delhi in a C-130J aircraft, Defence sources said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed Parliament the last rites of India’s first CDS will be performed with full military honours. The final rites of the other personnel will also be conducted with appropriate military honours, he said.

On Thursday, Stalin, Soundararajan, state ministers, senior Army officials and its veterans laid wreaths and paid floral tributes to the mortal remains at the Madras Regimental Centre at Wellington near here. A Guard of Honour was also given to the departed.

The mortal remains of the crash victims in caskets wrapped in the Tricolour were brought to the venue earlier in decorated army trucks.

Stalin, seen wearing a black muffler, laid a wreath and paid floral tributes to General Rawat and others, and later briefly spoke to the Army brass present there. His cabinet colleagues K N Nehru, M P Saminathan and K Ramachandran, senior state government and police officials and Army personnel among others also paid tributes to the crash victims.

Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi laid wreath and paid homage to Gen Rawat at a ceremony at Bharathidasan University in Tiruchirappalli. General Rawat (63), his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 others were killed in the helicopter crash near here on Wednesday.

The bodies were later transported to the Sulur Air base at nearby Coimbatore through ambulances from where they were taken to the national capital. People lined up on both the sides of the road to pay their last respects to the deceased all along the route covering about 90 km from Madras Regimental Centre, Wellington, to Coimbatore.

The ambulances were showered with flowers and garlands by the waiting public. Traffic movement was diverted to prevent any disruptions of ambulances carrying the 13 bodies.

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