Friday, Aug 08, 2003
Front Page |
Southern States |
Other States |
Advts: Classifieds | Employment | Obituary |
By Our Staff Reporter
In the third week of July this year trekkers came across the body of Beli Ram of Pallanwalla. On reading a news report about this in a local daily, Beli Ram's family approached the Army authorities who have given assurances on retrieving the body.
In the same crash, Banarsi Lal of a border village in Kathua district of Jammu region was also killed. Immediately after the crash, the grief-stricken parents died. His elder brother Harbans Lal says: "It is our right to get the body of my brother so that he could be cremated with full religious rites".
The 73-year-old Harbans Lal says Banarsi Lal was just 24 when he died. He had completed just seven months of his service he was commissioned on June 8, 1967 from the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun. After the crash, Banarsi Lal's family urged the Himachal Government to search for the body but all efforts failed. Harbans Singh says: "Now it has been confirmed that the plane had crashed over South Dakka glacier, there was every possibility that the body of Banarsi and other soldiers would be lying there." The family still possesses a letter written by the then Army Chief, Gen. Manekshaw, addressed to Banarsi's father Ram Chand confirming his son's death. "As was intimated to you
earlier, your son, 2/Lt. Banarsi Lal was missing with effect from 7 Feb. 1968 while on a flight from Chandigarh to Leh. Our orders stipulate that, in such cases, a certain amount of time must elapse before the missing person can be considered to be no more. That time has, unfortunately, come now and it is my unpleasant duty to write and tell you of it," the letter said. "I am aware of the many months that have passed since 1968 and that this letter will re-open closed wounds. But I felt that I must write and convey the condolence of myself and all ranks of the Army and tell you that all of us share your sorrow," Gen. Manekshaw had written.
Neither the bodies of those killed nor wreckage of the aircraft was found. According to Air Force records, the Army officers who were killed were Major Devindar, Major R.V. Raghavan, Capt. A.K. Shahjee and 2nd Lt. Banarsi Lal.Six crew members, Flt. Lt. H.K. Singh, Sqn. Ldr. P.N. Malhotra, Flt. Lt. M.S. Bains, Sgt. R.S. Yadav, Flt. Sgt. Soma Sundaram and Warrant Officer S. Bhattacharjee, a civilian, R.S. Vashisht, an official of the Research and Development Wing, besides Beli Ram of the Panear Regiment were also killed. Flt. Lt. H.K. Singh was the Captain of the crew with Sqn. Ldr. P.N. Malhotra as his co-pilot and Flt. Lt. M.S. Bains as the Navigator.
Army launches operation
PTI reports from New Delhi:
Responding to an SOS from the Himachal Pradesh authorities, the Army and IAF today swung into action and launched the operation to salvage the bodies and the wreckage of the aircraft.
"Our ground teams along with teams from the Army and the Himachal Directorate of Adventure have reached Manali and we propose to launch an air and land salvage operation soon," an IAF spokesman said.
He said operations were hindered today due to bad weather which did not allow helicopters to get airborne, but "we are hopeful of bringing some of the bodies down tomorrow".
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | Business Line | The Sportstar | Frontline | The Hindu eBooks | Home |
Copyright © 2003, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of