Shameful Pics Of Martyred Soldiers In Cardboard Boxes Circulate Online, Post Which Indian Army Calls It An ‘Abberation’

Vamshi Krishna

It was a day when India’s President and Prime Minister Saluted our Air Force on the occasion of Air Force Day, a disgraceful tragedy has stained the sense of pride. Seven military personnel were killed in Mi-17 V5 helicopter crash in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Helicopter crash in Arunachal Pradesh

Two days after the tragedy happened, purported images of their bodies being transferred in cardboard boxes, tied with ropes surfaced on the social media on Sunday. Eventually, the photos demeaning the soldiers’ efforts are causing massive outrage on the internet.

Lt Gen H S Panag (retd.), who has commanded the northern and central commands when in service, tweeted pictures of the bodies of the military personnel (five from the IAF, including two officers, and two jawans from the army) wrapped in cardboard pieces, each held by what appears to be a pink colored rope or cloth.

Soldiers' bodies in cardboards

He wrote on his Twitter handle, “Seven young men stepped out into the sunshine yesterday, to serve their motherland. India. This is how they came home.”

This prompted the Army to come out with a tweet saying the wrapping of the bodies with local resources was an ‘aberration’ and that the fallen soldiers are always given full military honor.

The Army and Air Force say the post where the crash happened is 14,000 feet above the sea level and only had bare minimum essentials. The helicopter could not fly in coffins to the post because at that height there are load restrictions. When the bodies came to Tawang, a proper post-mortem was done, the post which they were put in coffins, wrapped in the tricolor and then sent home.

Soldiers were given proper respect

Soldiers were given proper respect2

The tweet read, “Mortal remains of a helicopter accident in HAA on 6 Oct 17 recovered, sent wrapped in local resources is an aberration.”

Reacting to the issue, the Army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information tweeted that the carriage of the mortal remains in body bags, wooden boxes and coffins will be ensured. “Fallen soldiers (are) always given full military honor. Carriage of mortal remains in body bags, wooden boxes, coffins will be ensured,” the tweet read.

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 forwarding locations until ceremonial coffins were available.

Cricketer Gautam Gambhir too took to Twitter to lash out at the manner in which the remains were brought home.

People on Twitter are terming this as ‘shameful’ and are questioning the government on nationalism and the way they treat the soldiers who fight for the nation.

A total of 37 defense aircraft and helicopters have crashed since May 2014 in which 55 people were killed, the government had informed the Rajya Sabha in August this year. Out of the total, the IAF lost 24 aircraft and five helicopters in crashes since 2014-15 and the main reasons for them have been human error and technical defect.

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