The daughter of Brigadier Lakhwinder Singh Lidder, Defence Adviser to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, bid a tearful goodbye to him at the Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment on Friday. Brigadier Lidder was one of the 13 people who died in the military helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu’s Coonoor on Wednesday. The tragic chopper crash also claimed the life of CDS General Rawat and his wife. Brigadier Lidder’s daughter Aashna remembered her father as a hero, a great motivator and her best friend.
“I am going to be 17. So, he was with me for 17 years, we will go ahead with happy memories. It is a national loss. My father was a hero, my best friend. Maybe it was destined and better things will come our way. He was my biggest motivator,” Aashna told ANI. Geetika Lidder, the wife of Brigadier Lidder, said that he should be given a smiling send-off. “We must give him a good farewell, a smiling send-off, I am a soldier’s wife. It’s a big loss,” she added.
The last rites of Brigadier Lidder were performed with full military honours at Brar Square crematorium in Delhi Cantonment. During the last rites, Geetika Lidder was seen in tears kneeling by the head of her husband’s coffin, which was draped with the national flag and decked with flowers. Brigadier’s daughter was by her mother’s side, fighting back tears of her own while paying last respects to her father.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had laid wreaths on the mortal remains of Lidder before his last rites here in the national capital. Meanwhile, CDS General Rawat will be cremated later in the day today with full military honours. The Army said the mortal remains of only three persons — General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and Brigadier Lidder — had been positively identified so far.
Other 10 defence forces personnel who died in the chopper crash are Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar and Lance Naik B Sai Teja. The bodies of the victims were flown from Sulur near Coimbatore to the Palam airbase Thursday evening in caskets wrapped in the Tricolour.
Group Captain Varun Singh, the lone survivor in the crash, has been shifted to Air Force Command hospital at Bengaluru for further treatment. The Centre has ordered a ‘tri service’ inquiry into the accident. The inquiry will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command. According to the sources, the black box of the chopper has been recovered from the crash site. A team of Tamil Nadu’s Forensic Science Department also visited the crash site.