Nation pays tribute to Siachen braveheart Lance Naik Koppad; last rites today

The last rites of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who passed away on Thursday are being held at his native village in Dharwad district on Friday with full state honours. Koppad battled for life since his miraculous survival in Siachen.

The body was kept at KIMS hospital in Hubbali initially before being shifted to Nehru Ground in Bengaluru for public viewing before last rites on Friday afternoon at Betadur village in Kundagol taluk of Dharwad district in north Karnataka.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will pay his last respects, the CM's office said. Koppad was given full state honours.

Reacting to the death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "He leaves us sad and devastated...The soldier in you remains immortal."

Rahul Gandhi said, "His extraordinary spirit and tenacity, till the very end, is an inspiration for all. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed deep shock and profound grief over the death of Koppad.

"During his life, the braveheart son of India united the entire nation in praying for him and has every citizen grieving for him today," she said.

"He fought till his last displaying utmost valour, courage and determination, which is the hallmark of our Armed Forces," she said in a message extending her deepest condolence to Koppad's family and loved ones.

Condoling Koppad's death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her sadness. "Saddened by news of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Brave soldier gave supreme sacrifice for the nation. Salute to him & his colleagues who died," Banerjee tweeted.

Union Minister and former army chief VK Singh said that "it was a miracle for anybody to survive for six days buried under an avalanche, under 35 feet of snow."

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit also reacted to the soldier's demise and said that it was time that India and Pakistan addressed this issue of lives being lost in Siachen.

"We hope the Siachen issue is treated in an urgent manner between our two countries so more lives aren't lost," ANI quoted Basit as saying.

Koppad was the lone survivor among 10 soldiers buried by an avalanche on Siachen on 3 February.

The 33-year-old soldier of the 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and two-year-old daughter Netra Koppad.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Feb 12, 2016 14:03 PM

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