New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS): The Rajya Sabha on Thursday paid homage to India's first Chief Of Defence staff, General Bipin Rawat as house assembled for the day and members mourned the deaths in chopper crash and kept silence for the departed souls.
The Deputy Chairman leading the house said, Rawat was an exemplary soldier and served the country with utmost honesty and dedication.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, making a statement in the house said, "Rawat was travelling by helicopter but ATC lost the contact after taking off from the air base as he was supposed to give a lecture in Wellington."
Thirteen people on board lost their lives in the air crash. The dead bodies will be brought to Delhi on Thursday and Air Marshal Manvendra Singh will head the tri-services enquiry panel.
Leader of opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said that this is a day of national mourning and all the floor leaders should also be allowed to express grief, but they were not allowed.
The General passed away in a chopper crash on Wednesday in Tamil Nadu along with others in a chopper crash.
The opposition too decided to suspend their protest for the day in honour of the departed souls. Mallikarjun Kharge said, "We have decided not to protest today in honour of CDS Bipin Rawat and the soldiers who died in the chopper crash."