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Bodies of Soldiers Killed in Tawang Crash Sent in Cardboard Boxes, Army Calls it Aberration

"Seven young men stepped out into the sunshine yesterday to serve their motherland, India. This is how they came home," tweeted Lt Gen (Retd) HS Panag along with the images of the soldiers' remains.

News18.com

Updated:October 9, 2017, 8:51 AM IST
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Bodies of Soldiers Killed in Tawang Crash Sent in Cardboard Boxes, Army Calls it Aberration
The image was tweeted by former Northern Army commander Lt Gen (Retd) HS Panag.

New Delhi: Images of the remains of the seven soldiers, who were killed in a helicopter crash in Tawang two days ago, being transported wrapped in plastic sacks and tied up in cardboard boxes surfaced on Sunday, triggering a controversy.

The photos were tweeted by Lt Gen (Retd) HS Panag, who criticized the lack of military body bags for soldiers. “Seven young men stepped out into the sunshine yesterday to serve their motherland, India. This is how they came home," tweeted the former Northern Army commander.

This prompted the Army to come out with a statement, saying the wrapping of the bodies with “local resources was an aberration” and that the fallen soldiers are always given full military honour.

Army’s public relations officer Colonel Aman Anand said that the carriage of the mortal remains in body bags, wooden boxes and coffins will be ensured. “Fallen soldiers (are) always given full military honour. Carriage of mortal remains in body bags, wooden boxes, coffins will be ensured,” the statement read.

The Army said that due to constraints of the carriage effort in high-altitude area, helicopters cannot carry full load. "Mortal remains were wrapped in available local resources instead of improvised body bags or coffins. This was an aberration."

It said immediately after the post-mortem at the Guwahati base hospital, the mortal remains were placed in the wooden coffins with full military honours.

“Consequent to paying of tributes as per full military honours, mortal remains of all the personnel have been sent to respective next of kin,” the statement said.

The photographs were taken when the bodies were in Guwahati, as per an official.

Lt Gen (Retd) Panag said proper military body bags must be used to transport bodies from forward locations until ceremonial coffins were available. Several people on twitter also expressed their anguish after the images surfaced.

Five IAF personnel, including two pilots, and two armymen were killed when the Mi-17 V5 chopper crashed on Friday morning in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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