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Khandu pays rich homage to martyred IAF crew

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu unveiling the busts of IAF martyrs on Tuesday.
 ITANAGAR, Feb 12 - Chief Minister Pema Khandu today paid rich tribute to the martyrs of the Indian armed forces.

“No one deserves the title of a hero more than a soldier. The brave men and women in the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy stay away from their families, miss every significant thing in their lives and give the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be with our loved ones and sleep peacefully at night,” said Khandu while speaking to Indian Air Force (IAF) officers and jawans at the Tezpur Air Force Station today.

Khandu unveiled the bust of the air crew installed at the Air Force Station, who sacrificed their lives when the IAF helicopter which was on a rescue mission to evacuate people stranded due to massive landslides caused by heavy rainfall, met with an accident killing all on board near Sagalee in Arunachal Pradesh in 2017. Mutilated bodies of the crew members were recovered along with the chopper wreckage three days later.

Paying tribute to Wing Commander Mandeep Singh Dhillon, Flight Lieutenant Pramod Kumar Singh and Sergeant Rajendra Yashwant Gujjar, Khandu said that the people of Arunachal Pradesh would remember the supreme sacrifice made by these IAF heroes. He also remembered the supreme sacrifice of an Arunachal Pradesh Police personnel who was also on duty in that ill-fated chopper.

“The true sons of the soil were never deterred by the inclement weather that came their way. They airlifted hundreds of stranded people of our State to safer locations before the tragedy struck like a bolt from nowhere. The survivors who were airlifted by these heroes are still in shock as they could not even thank their saviours for their valorous services. The people of Arunachal Pradesh join in mourning the sacrifice of the great soldiers of our country. They were true patriots indeed,” said the Chief Minister.

As mark of respect, the Arunachal Pradesh Government gave ex-gratia payment of Rs 50 lakh each to the next of kin of the three IAF pilots. Khandu also expressed gratitude to the IAF for helping the State during all kinds of crisis and extending support whenever sought for.

Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Air Command and Air Commander Tejpal Singh, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Tezpur and Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Satya Gopal were present on the occasion.

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