Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was no mean soldier. Before leaving all of us in mourning and before embarking on his final journey, Lance Naik Koppad showed his countrymen the mettle he is made of. Always up for the most challenging postings that the Indian Army could provide, the Lance Naik miraculously survived for six days after being found buried under tonnes of snow in the Siachen Glacier after an avalanche hit his post located at a super-high altitude.
His colleagues did rescue him after a gruelling search and rescue mission but he breathed his last at the Army R&R Hospital in New Delhi despite the best efforts by a determined medical team. Nine other soldiers also lost their lives in the incident. The 33-year-old Lance Naik was part of the 19th Battalion of the Madras Regiment. Aptly described as "highly-motivated and physically fit" by an Army officer on Wednesday, Lance Naik Koppad has left the nation in grief and tributes are pouring in from all over. Below is a collection of how India is paying homage to this Siachen braveheart.
Indian Army:Despite best of medical efforts L/NK Hanamanthappa K could not be saved. #COAS & all ranks #IndianArmy express heartfelt condolences RIP. The soldier in L/NK Hanamanthappa will continue to inspire generations in the Indian Army #COAS
President Pranab Mukherjee in a message to the soldiers' mother Basamma Koppad: I am deeply sad to learn about the passing away of your son, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad. Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey them to the members of your family. I pray to the Almighty to give you and your family the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss... Koppad made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. In this moment of grief, the sympathies and condolences of the entire nation are your family and you.
Vice President Hamid Ansari: I am extremely saddened to learn of the demise of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad earlier today. A survivor of the mishap at Siachen, he had come to symbolize the grit, determination and the indomitable spirit of the Indian armed forces.
The role of the Army rescue team and the doctors and staff of the Army (Research & Referral) Hospital in making the valiant effort to save Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad have been commendable.
I join the nation in praying for eternal rest for the departed soul and in offering solace and fortitude to the members of the bereaved family.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi: He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India.
Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar: Condolences to family of L/Nk Hanumanthappa on his passing away. The Nation salutes him.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi: I express deep shock and profound grief the death of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. During his life, the braveheart son of India united the entire nation in praying for him and has every citizen grieving for him today. He fought till his last displaying utmost valour, courage and determination, which is the hallmark of our armed forces.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi: In his life and his passing Lance Naik Hanumanthappa has shown the world the meaning of perseverance & courage. His extraordinary spirit and tenacity, till the very end, is an inspiration for all. My thoughts & prayers are with his bereaved family.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar: Deeply saddened by the passing away of Siachen braveheart Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. Condolences to his family and loved ones.
Union Environment Prakash Javadekar: #Hanumanthappa showed us all what a soldier is made of. My salute to the brave heart. Condolences to his family. RIP
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah: I'm deeply saddened by the news of d sad demise of Soldier #Hanumanthappa Koppad. My heartfelt condolences to his family members. Our Govt pays due respect to all d three martyrs of #SiachenAvalanche and their families w'll get suitable compensation
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu: #Hanumanthappa fought valiantly on field ,bellow piles of snow,in hospital,till he breathed his last,Salutes to this Braveheart.We bow!
Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu: Deeply saddened by the death of Shri Lance Naik #Hanumanthappa today. A brave heart, he braved the harsh Siachen for long.
Congress MP Deepender S Hooda: Tributes to #LanceNaik #Hanumanthappa. Your fighting spirit & sacrifice shall inspire generations. India is united in grief.
Rajya Sabha MP Sachin Tendulkar: The only ray of hope amidst the devastating news of the avalanche was finding one of our jawans alive against all odds. Hearing of his demise leaves the entire nation shattered. I have always held our armed forces in the highest regard especially those who serve in these extreme conditions. RIP Lance Naik #Hanumanthappa.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee: Saddened by news of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Brave soldier gave supreme sacrifice for the nation. Salute to him & his colleagues who died.
Lata Mangeshkar: Bharat mata ke veer saput Lance Naik Hanumanthappa ko meri bhavpurna shraddhanjali. (My heartfelt tribute to Mother India's brave son, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa.)
Rana Daggubati: Extremely saddened to hear about Lance Naik Hanumanthappa's demise. India has lost a brave soldier. Salute his courage. May his soul RIP!