New Delhi, Apr 7 (ANI): A pall of gloom overwhelmed all ranks of military and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel here, as the tricolour covered coffins containing the bodies of 24 paramilitary persons were brought down from the AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF), in the technical areas of the Palam Air Force base on Wednesday evening.
On Tuesday morning, the deadliest ever Maoist attack on security forces left 76 CRPF personnel and a local policeman dead in the thick forests near the remote village of Chintalnar-Tarmetla in Dantewada District.
The force was barely able to offer a fight at a dawn ambush along a road.
The IAF aircraft that left Jaldanpur in Chhattisgarh, at around 12 noon had its first halt at Lucknow, where it handover bodies of the personnel belonging to Uttar Pradesh, before reaching Delhi.
The CRPF Additional Director General (Headquarters), J C Dabas, received bodies of the 24 deceased personnel.
The mood turned sullen, as the platoon was ordered to observe 'Shok Shastra,' (homage and reversal of arms) and the Last Post was sounded for the martyrs.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Air Vice Marshal R Seetharaman, senior officials of Home Ministry and Central Security Agencies and the All India Anti Terror Front (AIATF) president Maninderjit Singh Bitta were present at the air base to pay last respects to the martyrs.
Officials placed wreaths on coffins on behalf of their respective organizations.
The CRPF personnel offered floral tribute to the deceased colleagues.
The bodies were brought here, today include that of -Ali Hasan, Rakesh Kumar, Ram Karan, Ved Pal, Vinod Pal Singh, Pikab Singh, Bhupinder Yadav, Sharath, Manak Chopra, Devender Yadav, Narendra Kumar, Khalil Khan, Jamuna Prasad Giri, Sanjay Kumar Jalan, Arender Kumar, Navanit Kumar, Virender Singh, Uday Vir Singh and Sanjay Kumar.
According to the CRPF sources, another aircraft carrying seven more martyrs' bodies is expected land in Delhi by tonight.
Interacting with media, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Nishank said the whole country is united with the Central Government in the fight against Maoists.
"All the state Governments and political parties will cooperate with the Centre in their operation against Maoists," Nishank said.
He also demanded to the Centre to undertake toughest possible action to curb Maoist menace.
After laying wreath on the bodies of martyrs, AITF chief Bitta asked people of the country to unite in the fight against all terror elements.
" All countrymen, be it Hindu, Sikh, Christian or Muslim, should stand united in the fight against terrorism," Bitta said.
Speaking in Jaldanpur, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram assured that the sacrifice of 76 personnel will not be allowed to go in vain and a befitting reply will be given to the Maoists. By Shreeraj Gudi (ANI)