NEW DELHI, FEB 16: With his hands folded and head bowed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked around 40 coffins draped in tricolour on Friday evening as he led the nation in paying last respects to the CRPF personnel martyred in the Pulwama terror attack.
The mortal remains of the troopers reached Delhi's Palam air force area in a special Indian Air Force (IAF) plane in the evening. The bodies were received by Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Decorated with white floral arrangements, 40 coffins wrapped in tricolour were neatly arranged in the hanger, where senior officials of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) laid wreaths one by one in a solemn ceremony, officials said.
National security advisor Ajit Doval, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, the chiefs of the three services -- Army, Air Force and Navy -- and senior cabinet ministers, including defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also paid their homage to the slain CRPF personnel, they added.
Gandhi, who was standing alongside Army chief General Bipin Rawat, politely asked the general to give way to him for paying his respects.
After the dignitaries paid their homage, the Prime Minister, dressed in white with a dark-coloured shawl, arrived in the hanger and went straight to the podium where the coffins were kept, officials said.
He stood in silence for a few moments, before taking a round of the coffins with his hands folded and head bowed.
Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
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