<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The coffins of 19 soldiers of the Indian Army who died after being hit by two separate avalanches in Gurez and Machchil sectors on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir were brought to the national capital for a final adieu before they were flown to their respective hometowns.The mortal remains were airlifted from Srinagar to Delhi by the Indian Air Force. Vice army chief, Sarath Chand, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda were present.On January 26 at 4pm, an avalanche struck near Gurez sector in the Valley killing 14 members who were patroling the area near the LoC along the Pakistan border. In another incident in Machhal sector, five soldiers who were rescued after they got trapped under snow on January 28, succumbed to their injuries later.”This is a very unfortunate incident,” said Bhamre while speaking at the wreath laying ceremony for the soldiers in New Delhi. “We lost 20 men to nature’s fury. The army shares the grief and pain of the bereaved families,” he added.After the ceremony, the coffins were loaded in different aircraft to be taken to the soldiers’ native places for the last rites.Parliament also condoled the death of soldiers and civilians in avalanches in Jammu and Kashmir.Earlier, the Army bid farewell to its departed in Srinagar.”As the entire nation salutes the 19 martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice fighting nature’s fury in Kashmir’s frontier sectors of Gurez and Machhil, the Army gave a befitting farewell to its brave hearts today in a solemn ceremony here,” an army official said.He said the Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen J S Sandhu and all ranks of the Corps paid rich tributes to the gallant soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the formidable heights along the Line of Control in two separate snow-related incidents in North Kashmir.”Fourteen soldiers were swept away in a devastating avalanche in Gurez on January 25 while five soldiers in Machhil, who had been rescued after they got trapped under snow when the track caved in on January 28, succumbed to injuries yesterday,” the official said.In a show of solidarity, officials from other security agencies including police, CRPF, BSF and SSB also joined in paying their last respects to the martyrs, he said.”The mortal remains of the martyrs are being taken to their native places where their last rites will be performed by the family members. The Army stands beside the bereaved families in their loss and shares their grief and pain,” he added.—With agency inputs

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Nation bids farewell to 19 soldiers killed in avalanches