Photographs showing the bodies of the seven soldiers killed in the Tawang helicopter crash being transported in cardboard boxes surfaced on Sunday, creating a stir on social media. The Army, however, responded saying it was an aberration that happened as the remote outpost did not have basic resources.
“Mortal remains of a helicopter accident in a high altitude area on October 6 recovered, sent wrapped in local resources is an aberration,” the Additional Directorate General of Public Information tweeted. “Fallen soldiers always given full military honour. Carriage of mortal remains in body bags, wooden boxes, coffins will be ensured,” the Army said in another tweet.
An Mi-17 V5 helicopter, on an air-maintenance mission, crashed near Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang town early on October 6, killing five Air Force and two Army personnel on board.
On Sunday, former Northern Army Commander Lt Gen HS Panag tweeted pictures of the remains wrapped in cardboard boxes. The Army’s response came after social media users criticised the way the dead military personnel were being treated, The Hindu reported.
“To evacuate the remains from there, personnel there had to use whatever was available,” one official was quoted by the newspaper as saying. The officer said once the remains of the personnel were airlifted to Guwahati, they were handled as per procedure and sent to the families with full military honours.