Politicians, clerics, envoys pay last respects to General Bipin Rawat ahead of funeral
Politicians cutting across party lines, religious leaders, envoys and security personnel of varying ranks on Friday paid their last respects to India's first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat, who were among the 13 people who lost their lives in an air accident in Tamil Nadu's Coonnor this week.
The last rites of Gen Rawat will be performed with full military honours later in the day, according to people familiar with the matter.
The bodies of General Rawat and his wife were kept at their 3, Kamaraj Marg residence in New Delhi as people paid their final tributes.
A host of politicians — from senior leaders of the Congress to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionaries, chief ministers of several states, Union ministers, and political leaders from the southern part of India — all lined up at Kamaraj Marg to pay their last respects to the late general.
Several religious leaders were also present at the residence of the late General Bipin Rawat to hold multi-faith prayers, as were French envoy Emmanuel Lenain and Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon.
The late CDS Gen Rawat's funeral is scheduled for 4pm, as per officials familiar with the day's plans. The final journey to the Brar Square crematorium is scheduled to begin around 2pm onwards. His funeral procession will start from the K Kamaraj Road and proceed towards Rajaji Road, Teen Murti, 11 Murti, Sardar Patel Road, and then from Dhaula Kuan, it will move towards Brar Square via the Narayana Route.
A total of 12 officers the from army, the navy, and the air force, of the rank of a brigadier and equivalent, are on Vigil Duty to maintain continuous vigil over the mortal remains while they are laid in state.
Six officers — two each from the army, the navy, and the air force — of the rank of lieutenant general or equivalent will be the national flag bearers. A ceremonial battery of the 2233 Field Regiment will be providing gun carriage. As many as 99 personnel from all ranks of the armed forces and 33 members of the tri-services band will form the front escort, while 99 personnel of all ranks from the three services will act as the rear escort.
A total of 800 service personnel will be in attendance for the military funeral of the CDS.
According to Indian Army officials, the late CDS is being accorded a 17 gun salute as per protocol.