New Delhi [India], December 8 (ANI): Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and several other Opposition leaders on Wednesday condoled the demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others who died in a helicopter crash.
Kharge expressed his condolences and said, "Deeply shocked over the tragic demise of General Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat and 11 other people deceased in the tragic helicopter crash. I express my deepest condolences and pray the family finds strength in dealing with this terrible loss. All Indians share their grief."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also extend his condolences to the family of General Bipin Rawat and his wife and termed the incident an "unprecedented tragedy".
"I extend my condolences to the family of Gen Bipin Rawat and his wife. This is an unprecedented tragedy and our thoughts are with their family in this difficult time. Heartfelt condolences also to all others who lost their lives. India stands united in this grief," the Congress leader tweeted.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also mourned the demise of CDS Rawat and termed his death "tragic".
"Extremely tragic. God bless their soul," Kejriwal tweeted.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor mourned the demise of General Rawat and said that the crash must be investigated.
"All of India mourns the tragic loss of life that occurred today & the passing of India's first Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Rawat, his wife and 11 men in uniform. The crash must and will be investigated, but today is a day for prayer. We salute the departed and mourn their loved ones," said Tharoor.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said, "Very difficult and sad time! It is sad for all of us to know about the death of our army personnel, his wife, pilot and other assistants in the helicopter accident along with CDS General Bipin Rawat ji as co-passengers. The whole country is in mourning at this time. May we all be each other's strength in this difficult time."
Extending his condolences, former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh said that General Bipin Rawat served the country with "great honour and dedication".
"Grieved to know about the untimely demise of Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat ji in an unfortunate helicopter crash today. He served the country with great honour and dedication. My heartfelt condolences," Singh said in a tweet.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that India's first Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat's demise is an irreparable loss to the country.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati condoled the demise of all those who died in the helicopter crash.
"Many army officers including the country's highest 5-star rank, first Chief of Defence Staff and former Army Chief General Bipin Rawat died in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu today, a very sad and tremendous loss. My deepest condolences. May God give strength to his family and everyone else to bear this loss," Mayawati tweeted.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren expressed deep sorrow and grief over the untimely demise of CDS General Bipin Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat along with 11 other officers in an Army helicopter crash in Coonoor, Tamil Nadu, informed the Chief Minister's Office (CMO).
The Indian Air Force today informed that General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, and 11 other persons on board the Mi-17 V5 helicopter were killed after the aircraft crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
"With deep regret, it has now been ascertained that Gen Bipin Rawat, Mrs Madhulika Rawat, and 11 other persons on board have died in the unfortunate accident," the Indian Air Force (IAF) tweeted.
The helicopter crashed around noon shortly after it took off from the Air Force base in Sulur, Coimbatore, for Wellington in the Nilgiri Hills. The General was heading to the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course today.
The Indian Air Force has issued a list of names of General Rawat's staff who were on-board the crashed chopper. These include Brigadier LS Lidder, Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh, NK Gursewak Singh, NK Jitendra Kumar, L/NK Vivek Kumar, L/NK B Sai Teja, and Hav Satpal are among those on board the aircraft.
The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the accident. (ANI)