Tearful adieu to braveheart

Tearful adieu to braveheart

Tearful adieu to braveheart

A sea of humanity descended on Betadur village on Friday to bid an emotional farewell to Siachen braveheart Lance Naik Hanmanthappa Koppad.

It was sheer spontaneity as people arrived at Betadur from villages and towns in the district and surrounding areas to pay their final respect to the 19 Madras Regiment soldier, whose exemplary grit moved the entire nation. 

Chants of “Hanmanthappa amar rahe” and “Come back Hanmanthappa... Siachen hero” rent the air as soldiers from the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment gave the battler a 12-gun salute. Hanmanthappa was buried in an open area in front of the gram panchayat office as per Lingayat traditions.

Though more than 2,500 police personnel from four districts were deployed to maintain law and order, youths cutting across religions, in a befitting tribute, worked shoulder-to-shoulder to make sure that no untoward incident took place. An inconsolable Mahadevi, Hanmanthappa’s wife, collapsed twice during the funeral. It was also heartrending to see two-year-old Netra kiss her father’s coffin.

Earlier in the day, thousands turned up at Hubballi’s Nehru Stadium where Hanmanthappa’s body was kept in state. The road leading to Betadur was packed with people on either sides who were vying to catch a glimpse of the braveheart. 

The motorcade carrying the fallen soldier arrived at the village around 11 am and was taken straight to his residence for the family to pay their last respect in private. 

Later, Hanmanthappa’s body was moved to the Government High School, where the public bid a final farewell.  Around 12:20 pm, Hanmanthappa’s body was brought to the ground in front of the gram panchayat office for the final rites. By 1pm, it was all over.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, his ministerial colleagues H K Patil and Vinay Kulkarni, Union minister Ananth Kumar, BJP state president Pralhad Joshi, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar and several other leaders, too, paid their respect. 

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