Bodies of NCC cadets reach City

The bodies of five City NCC cadets, who drowned in a tragic incident in the Periyar river in Kerala, reached Indira Gandhi International Airport in an Indian Air Force helicopter around 1:30 pm on Thursday.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Defence Minister A K Antony and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy were present at the IGI airport. The bodies were accompanied by five National Cadet Corps officials.

A compensation of Rs 10 lakh each will be given to the next of kin of the diseased. It will be borne by the Central and state governments of Delhi and Kerala. The tragic incident took place on Wednesday, when the cadets were trekking through a slippery rocky path in Mahogany forest in Malayatoor beside the river.

Two of them were clicking photographs when a strong water current washed them away. The others who tried to save them also fell into the river.

The deceased were identified as Gulvez Ahmed,18, of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Dilshad Alam,18, from Zakir Nagar at Jamia Nagar, Tabish Baqri 18, from Uttar Pradesh, Muhammad Zeeshan, 18, from Okhla, and Hemanth Kumar, 15, from Tughlakabad extension and student of Government Boys Senior Secondary School in Kalkaji.

Alam, Baqri and Zeeshan were studying at Jamia Millia Islamia Polytechnic.
Mother of Alam, one of the victims, Shakila Zabeen who was waiting for her son’s body for 12 hours said: “I have had the misfortune of seeing my son’s body. There needs to be a proper inquiry into this.”

“At 10 am, he had sent his sister Ayesha Zabeen a text message saying that he was going for trekking and at 5 pm we got to know about his death,” said a grief-stricken Zabeen.

The defence minister announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each from the Central government. “It is a tragic incident that shook me. I have asked for a detailed report about the incident and what led to the mishap,” said Antony.

Dikshit expressed her deepest condolences over the sad demise of five promising students of Delhi. She described it as the most unfortunate incident and said the government will release an ex-gratia amount of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of the diseased. “It is an irreparable loss and India has lost its talents,” she said.

The Kerala chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for each family. NCC Director General Lt Gen P S Bhalla handed over cheques to the family members. After the tribute at the airport, the family members took the bodies home and performed the last rites on Thursday night.

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