IAF helicopter crash: TMC MPs staged walkout from Rajya Sabha, IAF ordered tri services enquiry

News Desk: Riled at the Opposition Parties being denied an opportunity to speak on the IAF helicopter crash, TMC MPs staged a walkout from Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Maintaining that this was not a “partisan” moment, TMC’s Sushmita Dev stated that the entire nation is shocked at this accident.

Speaking to the media, she lamented that the government did not reciprocate the Opposition’s gesture of lifting the dharna for one day to join the nation in grieving the demise of CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brig Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lt Col Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel.

TMC MP Sushmita Dec remarked, “In the Rajya Sabha, it is absolutely appalling that only the Chair speaks and the Defence Minister speaks. And not a single opposition party is allowed to say a word to express condolence or grief over this national tragedy. Even the LoP was refused this opportunity.”

She elaborated, “And if we can put everything aside and stand together with the nation, what is the reason that the government and the Chair did not allow the opposition parties even 30 seconds or one minute time to speak on this tragedy. And in protest of that, the All India Trinamool Congress has walked out for the day from Rajya Sabha. And we want the nation to know that today the government and the treasury benches have crossed all limits of suppression of opposition voice even on a matter that is not partisan.”

Earlier in the day, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh briefed the Rajya Sabha on the chopper crash that claimed 13 lives. He explained that Sulur Air Base Air Traffic Control lost contact with the Mi-17V5 Helicopter at about 12.08 p.m., barely a few minutes before its scheduled landing at Wellington, where the CDS was going to interact with student officers.

He also revealed that the IAF had ordered a tri-services enquiry headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, who is serving as the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command.

Explaining the sequence of events, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated, “The Air Force Mi-17 V5 helicopter took off from Sulur Air Base at 11:48 AM yesterday and was expected to land at Wellington by 12:15 PM. Air Traffic Control at Sulur Air Base lost contact with the helicopter at approximately 12:08 PM. Subsequently, few locals spotted a fire in the forest near Coonoor and rushed to the spot where they observed the wreckage of military helicopter engulfed in flames. Rescue teams from the local administration in the vicinity reached the site and attempted to recover the survivors from the crash site.”