Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the soldier who was buried under snow for six days after an avalanche hit an Indian Army post, transfixed the entire nation as he breathed his last on Thursday morning.
The Indian Army ‘hero’ was honoured by politicians, defence personnel and the masses who flocked to the cantonment area in the national Capital to pay their tributes to Koppad who was rescued on Monday night and was being treated at the Army Hospital Research and Referral (R and R) in New Delhi the next day.
“We tried our best to fight death,” Lt Gen SK Dhuan, chief of the army hospital said on Monday after Koppad succumbed to acute hypothermia among other ailments on Thursday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet, “The soldier in you remains immortal,” while the three defence chiefs and politicians -- including defence minister Manohar Parrikar, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia -- paid their last respects at Brar Square in New Delhi on Thursday.
Koppad’s last rites will be performed in his native village in Dharwad district of Karnataka with full state honours on Friday.
Bollywood stars also tweeted their condolences. “Saluting Late Lance Naik Hanumanthappa and all the#SiachenBravehearts...Your bravery is immortal,” wrote actor Anil Kapoor, as did countless others.
President Pranab Mukherjee also condoled the soldier’s death on Thursday: “I am deeply sad to learn about the passing away of your son, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Lance Naik Koppad was a hero who demonstrated exemplary will power and courage in the face of adversity. He made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.”