Nation bids farewell to Siachen soldier H Koppad

RSTV Bureau
File Photo of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Photo-PTI

File Photo of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa.
Photo-PTI

Siachen soldier Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was laid to rest with full state honours at his native village Betadur in Dharwad district in north Karnataka.

Thousands of villagers showed up to pay tribute to him and bid their local hero a final farewell.

An emotional crowd chanted “Hanumanthappa amar rahe” and other patriotic slogans as the mortal remains of Hanumanthappa were buried in a plot of land adjacent to the Gram Panchayat office in the village.

Hanumanthappa’s mother, wife, and his two-year-old daughter were also present to say their goodbyes. The grieving family was constantly being consoled by all those who were present.

Hanumanthappa’s wife Mahadevi was so inconsolable that she reportedly fainted during her husband’s last journey.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Union Minister Ananth Kumar, Home Minister G Parameshwara and several other state ministers and leaders of political parties paid their last respects.

On Thursday evening the CM announced an ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh for the bereaved family. He had also announced a site, land, job for Hanamanthappa’s wife and memorial for the brave heart.

The soldier passed away in a Delhi hospital on Thursday morning after he slipped into deeper coma. The entire nation was praying for Hanumanthappa’s recovery after he had survived under 25 feet of snow in Siachen for 6 days, before he was rescued by the Indian Army.

Two days after the Indian Army declared dead the 10 Indian jawans who went missing after the Kashmir avalanche, the jawan was pulled out from under 25-feet of snow at the Siachen glacier. And miraculously, he was still alive six days after being buried under the snow in extreme cold conditions where temperature dipped to -45 degrees Celsius.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa was the only survivor among the 10 Indian soldiers who went missing on February 3 after the massive avalanche struck the Kashmir region near the Siachen glacier.

Hanumanthappa, who had joined the Army 13 years ago, belonged to the Madras regiment was deployed in Siachen to guard the Indian post there. The soldiers went missing after their post, which is close to the Line of Control with Pakistan, was hit by the avalanche.

Army teams found him after days of sifting through a huge mass of ice in the treacherous region, sometimes digging more than 30 feet.

(With inputs from PTI)