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    Tearful farewell to Suraj Pillai

    ALUVA: The mortal remains of Flying Officer Suraj M Pillai, who succumbed to injuries in MiG fighter crash in Rajasthan on Tuesday, were cremated in his home village Veliyathunad near here at 11.30 am.
    His body was brought to the Naval Airport on Thursday morning from NAL Air Force Station in Bikaner, Rajasthan, in a special aircraft accompanied by four Air Force Personnel led by Squadron Leader Deshwal and the relatives of the deceased. The mortal remains were brought to his house Aswathy Nivas at 7 am. The body was kept on the house premises for the public to pay the last respects.
    Minister V K Ebrahim Kunju, Anwar Sadath MLA, District Collector Sheik Pareeth, Rural SP Harshita Attaluri, Wing Commander R Anand Menon, Assistant Sainik welfare Officer A K Ramakrisnan and Paravoor Tahsildar Sidharthan were among those who laid wreaths on the body.
    Hundreds of people attended the cremation ceremony which began at 11 am. The Air Force and Naval contingent, led by Sub Lt Amit Kumar Singh, jointly presented the Guard of Honour. They fired three rounds into the air as a mark of respect. INS Dhronacharya Band accompanied the Guard of Honour. A strong police contingent led by DySP R Salim and A Anil Kumar were present at the cremation ceremony. Suraj's cousins Bipin Babu, Sarath Soman, Arjun Ashok, Arun, Karthik and Abijith lit the pyre.
    Suraj's father Mohankumar Pillai and uncle Ashok Kumar had gone to Rajasthan to bring the body. His mother Vasanthi Pillai and sister Sneha, who were staying in Hyderabad, also accompanied the body from Bikaner.