Top civil, military officials skip Manekshaw’s funeralJune 27th, 2008 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 27 (IANS) The Indian Army is extremely disappointed over the lack of high-level civil and military representation at the state funeral accorded to Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, the iconic former army chief who died Friday, with even Defence Minister A.K. Antony failing to make it to the ceremony at Ooty in Tamil Nadu. In a rare gesture the Indian government decided to accord state funeral, complete with a 21-gun salute, to Manekshaw.
Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju was the seniormost government representative at the ceremony and this has not gone down well with the army, more so as even Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major were also conspicuous by their absence.
“The army chief (Gen. Deepak Kapoor) is on an official visit to Russia but at least the defence minister and the other two service chiefs should have attended the funeral,” an army officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Manekshaw, 94, died at the Military Hospital in Wellington in Tamil Nadu early Friday after developing acute bronchopneumonia.
Antony, however, warded off queries about the low-ley civilian and military presence at the funeral.
“As a special case, the government decided to organise a state funeral. Earlier, it used to be only a military funeral. My colleague Pallam Raju has been sent to represent the government,” Antony said.