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‘We don’t spare all of you a thought until tragedy strikes…my apologies’: Watch Smriti Irani’s heartfelt tribute to wives and families of soldiers

Smriti Irani was speaking at the Army Wives Welfare Association's book festival.

Union Minister Smriti Irani has offered an emotional tribute to soldiers and their families on Friday while apologising on behalf of civilians who she said, seldom acknowledge the sacrifices and challenges posed at the wives and family members of our brave soldiers. She was speaking at the Army Wives Welfare Association’s book festival.

While paying tribute to General Bipin Rawat, the late Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), his wife Madhulika Raje Singh Rawat, and 11 others who died in a helicopter crash in Coonoor on December 8, the women and child development minister shared her thoughts when she saw ‘Madhulikaji on the pyre’. 

“When I saw her in the pyre with General Rawat, as a civilian I thought that we don’t spare all of you thought and when I say all of you, its the wives and the children till such time a tragedy strikes, that you are unacknowledged by us and for that, you have my apology, that we see you only when you step up to take the posthumous honour that is conferred upon your loved ones. We shower you with petals when a man in uniform comes back in a box. We never acknowledge the challenges that you as Army man’s wife face. We assume that you have chosen this life but today as a civilian I say sorry and also express my gratitude,” said the union minister thanking the families of the soldiers for the unbridled sacrifices made by them for the country.

India’s first CDS General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Raje Singh Rawat, and 11 others were killed on December 8 when an Indian Air Force (IAF) chopper crashed near Coonor in Tamil Nadu in an air tragedy that shocked the three services and came as a huge setback to the country’s biggest military reforms since Independence.

The only survivor of the crash, Group Captain Varun Singh, died on Wednesday. The last rites of the fallen soldier were performed with full state and military honours in Bhopal on Friday.

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