Tributes paid to BSF plane crash victims 

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday led hundreds of Border Security Force and Sashastra Seema Bal personnel in paying tribute to 10 BSF and SSB men killed in a plane crash here.

The ceremony was held at the BSF hangar at the Safdarjung airport here.

Singh, accompanied by two deputies Kiren Rijiju and Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, met the families of those killed and assured them of all financial and other assistance from the Centre.

“The government is with you in this difficulty time. All financial and social help will be given by the government,” said a teary-eyed Singh while speaking to the bereaved family members.

On Tuesday morning, nine BSF troopers and a SSB co-pilot were killed when their Beechcraft Super King plane flying to Ranchi crashed in Dwarka soon after take-off.

Following the ceremony, the bodies were sent to their respective native places.

The deceased included Deputy Commandant D. Kumar, Inspectors S.N. Sharma, Ravindra Kumar Yadav, Sub-Inspectors Chotte Lal Sharma, Surender Singh, Rabinder Kumar, Assistant Sub-Inspector D.P. Chauhan and Constable R.K. Rawat.

Bhagwati Prasad Bhatt, a resident of Dehradun, was piloting the plane along with co-pilot Rajesh Shivrain, who hailed from Bhiwani in Haryana.

Two of the nine BSF personnel hailed from Haryana. Three of them were residents of Uttar Pradesh, one from Bihar and the remaining two personnel belonged to Punjab and Odisha. All of them were residing in Delhi.

Earlier, BSF Director General D.K. Pathak announced a compensation of Rs.15 lakh for the families of each deceased, in addition to ex gratia of Rs.10 lakh.

During Wednesday’s ceremony the family members urged the home minister to order a probe into the plane crash, saying troopers will continue to loose lives and their families suffer if it was not done.

“My dad was a hero and died a hero… but why should the soldiers pay the price every time (in case of crash). Why is the government sitting quiet over deaths due to plane crashes over the years? We are the sufferers in the end,” said Sub- Inspector Rabinder Kumar’s daughter, who fainted several times during the ceremony.

Priyanka, a sister of Deputy Commandant Dhirendra Kumar who hailed from Meerut, told IANS:” We do not have hope from the government as such incidents will continue to occur and soldiers continue to die. We do not seek any clarification from the higher authorities as we know it’s not going to yield anything.”

“My brother often used to tell me that there are issue of maintenance with the planes and most of these were turning old. Even when there is a need to replace the old planes and choppers… nothing is being done,” added Priyanka.

Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Riiju said: “The Dwarka incident is a tragedy. The crashed plane was not old or overaged, as is being reported. The plane was inducted in 1995 and had a long life ahead. I used to travel in it only. The reports coming in are wrong.”

A senior BSF officer, who did not wished to be named, told IANS: “Several times planes and choppers develop technical glitches even after pre-flight checks. A similar thing happened here as well. The BSF has a small flying division but we ensure that our planes are the best and are not in bad shape. Once the probe gets over, we can say what exactly happened.”

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