Heart breaking pictures of bodies of seven military personnel covered in plastic sacks and tied up in cardboard boxes have emerged, triggering outrage among people on social media. The soldiers were killed when an IAF Mi-17 chopper crashed in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang on Friday. Former Northern Army commander Lt Gen (retd) HS Panag had posted the purported images with a tweet, ” Seven young men stepped out into the sunshine yesterday to serve their motherland, India. This is how they came home.”

The widespread anger on social media prompted the Army to come up with a response stating that wrapping of body in this manner was an ‘aberration’ and that fallen soldiers are always  given full military honour. “Fallen soldiers (are) always given full military honour. Carriage of mortal remains in body bags, wooden boxes, coffins will be ensured,” the Army was quoted as saying by PTI.

The statement further added that in a high-altitude area, it is not possible for the helicopter to carry full load in view of constraints of the carriage effort. “Mortal remains were wrapped in available local resources instead of improvised body bags or coffins. This was an aberration,” it said. The Army stressed that following the post-mortem at Guwahati base hospital, the mortal remains of soldiers were placed in coffins and given full military honour.

A Russia-made Indian air force helicopter had crashed on Friday killing all seven personnel onboard. The unfortunate incident took place when the MI-17 V5 chopper was ferrying the Army personnel to a forward post of Arunachal Pradesh. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the crash to determine its cause.

The crash which took place just one day before the Air Force Day, has concerned Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa who said Air Force losses in the peacetime were a cause of worry and concerted efforts were being made to minimise accidents.