The bodies of nine Indian soldiers, who were buried alive in an avalanche on the hostile Siachen glacier, were flown into the national capital from the frontier Ladakh region on Monday.
Wreaths were laid at the Palam airport in Delhi at a solemn ceremony led by Indian Army chief General Dalbir Singh. Indian Air Force planes were scheduled to fly the bodies to be handed over to their families in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madurai, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
Ten soldiers were buried under nearly 30 feet of ice and snow when the avalanche hit the Sonam post of the Indian Army on the Siachen glacier, at an altitude of around 20,000 feet.
One of them, Lance Naik Hanamanthapa Koppad, was found alive after he remained trapped under the snow for about six days. He succumbed to multi-organ failure at the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi on Thursday.
The nine bodies were retrieved a week after the tragedy.
Bad weather in the region had hindered flying their bodies out of Ladakh so far.
The coffins were flown out of Siachen to the base camp during a short interval of calm weather on Saturday, but could be flown to Leh only on Sunday.
Later on Monday, the bodies are scheduled to be flown out by the Indian Air Force aircraft to the destinations close to the hometowns of the martyrs.
The following are the nine martyred soldiers.
1. Subedar Nagesha TT, resident of village Tejur, Hassan district Karnataka
2. Havaldar Elum Alai M., resident of village Dukkam Parai, Vellore district, Tamil Nadu
3. Lance Havildar S. Kumar, resident of village Kumanan Thozhu, Teni district, Tamil Nadu
4. Lance Naik Sudheesh B., resident of village Monroethuruth, Kollam district, Kerala
5. Sepoy Mahesha P.N., resident of village HD Kote, Mysore district, Karnataka
6. Sepoy Ganesan G., resident of village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai district, Tamil Nadu
7. Sepoy Rama Moorthy N., resident of village Gudisa tana Palli, Krishna Giri district, Tamil Nadu
8. Sepoy Mustaq Ahmed S., resident of village Parnapalle, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh
9. Sepoy (Nursing Assistant) Suryawanshi S.V., resident of village Maskarwadi, Satara district, Maharashtra.
Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was cremated in his home town in Karnataka on Friday.