An Air India pilot, who flew theremains of Major Mukund Vardarajan martyred in an encounter with militants in Jammu and Kashmir, wrote a moving letter to the army man's parents offering condolences.
Disclosing this in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeshwara said neither the captain nor the co-pilot were aware that the remains were on board the aircraft from New Delhi to Chennai late April.
The airline has regretted not being able to announce the presence of the remains in the aircraft, he said in response to a question whether the government was aware that Air India had "refused" to make an in-flight announcement about the presence of the remains.
"When Captain N Srinivasan came to know about this, he wrote a personal letter to the parents of Major Mukund Vardarajan conveying his sincerest condolences," the Minister said.
31-year-old Vardarajan and a jawan were killed on April 25 in Karewa Malino area of Shopian, about 60 km from He had led an assault on militants hiding in a village and engaged them in a gun-battle for hours. He died of multiple injuries the next morning while being taken to hospital."I had the honour of flying your brave son from Delhi to Chennai," the pilot wrote to the parents of Varadarajan addressing them as "Dearest Father & Mother".
"I send my sincerest condolences and pranam to both of you, please accept them. May God bless Mukund's soul and give you strength. Please think of me as one of your sons."