Manipur earthquake: Mortal remains of 11 Army personnel reach Bagdogra airport
Darjeeling: The mortal remains of 11 Army personnel who had lost their lives in the killer landslide in Manipur arrived at the Bagdogra Airport on Saturday. From Bagdogra the mortal remains were taken to their respective residences, where the last rites will be performed with full military honours. A landslide struck on Wednesday night near the company location of 107 Territorial Army deployed near Tupul Railway station in the Noney district of Manipur. They were guarding the under construction railway line from Jiribam to Imphal.
Mortal remains of 14 of the Territorial Army personnel were sent to respective home stations by two IAF aircrafts and an Indian Army helicopter. 11 dead bodies arrived at Bagdogra.
The martyrs include Hav. Milan Tamang of Rohini Gairi Gaon, Kurseong; Nk. Diwankar Thapa, Chongtong, Marybong, Darjeeling; Rfn Benjamin of Teesta Valley, Darjeeling; Rfn Marcus Gurung of Singamari, Darjeeling; Nb Sub Sitaram Rai of Rangbul, Darjeeling; LNk Bishal Chhetri of Murma Dara Chura, Mirik; Hav. Bedhyan Rai of Happy Valley Tea Estate, Darjeeling; Rfn Ladup Tamang of Nagari Tea Estate, Darjeeling; Rfn Sankar Chettri of Kalabari, Banarhat, Jalpaiguri and Nk. Tshering Lepcha of Lingdem, North Sikkim.
The martyrs were accorded full army honours at Bengdubi Military Hospital compound where the GOC Trishakti Corps laid a wreath amidst sounding of the last post.
Family members, friends and neighbours of the deceased had gathered at Bangdubi. From here the bravehearts were sent to their respective villages. People lined up on the roads offering Khadas (traditional scarves)to the bravehearts.
Karishma Chettri, wife of Late Vishal Chettri said: "He had called me at 9 pm on Wednesday. We spoke for an hour. He then told me that he had morning duty and hung up. On Thursday we received news of his death." Vishal had come home in February and was scheduled to return in September. He is survived by his wife, a 7-month-old son and elderly parents.
Bidhan Rai had celebrated his 39th birthday on Wednesday and died the next day. "He had called up and we had all wished him a happy birthday. Next day at 1:30 pm his headquarters informed us of his death," stated his elder brother.
"This is the largest number of peacetime casualties from the Darjeeling Hills. More dead bodies will be arriving on Sunday," stated Ajoy Edwards, President, Hamro Party. A candle vigil was also organized at the Darjeeling Mall where people from all walks of life paid a tearful tribute to the fallen heroes. An army release stated that relentless search operations are continuing using Wall Radars search and rescue dogs. So far 13 Territorial Army personnel and 05 civilians have been safely rescued, while mortal remains of 18 Territorial Army personnel and 06 civilians have been recovered. Search for 12 missing Territorial Army personnel and 26 civilians still continues.