Tirupati: Thousands of people took part in the funeral procession and the final rites of Lance Naik Boggala Sai Teja in his native village Eguva Regadapalli near Madanapalli in Chittoor district on Sunday. The 27-year-old Army jawan was among the 13 people, including Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, who died in a fatal helicopter crash on December 8 near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu.
The soldier’s mortal remains were received with full military honour at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru on Saturday. Later, the jawan was given a final send-off with full military honours, while the Army staff laid wreaths on the body at the Command Hospital on Sunday in the Parachute Regiment Training Centre. Later, the convoy moved to Chittoor at 5.30 am.
The mortal remains of Lance Naik Sai Teja were brought to his village in a flower-bedecked military vehicle from Bengaluru. Even as the convoy reached the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border, thousands of students, youngsters and other people, holding the national flag, lined up along the route from the border as the convoy proceeded to Eguva Regadapalli village. They raised slogans “Lance Naik Sai Teja Amar Rahe”, and strewn flowers as the vehicle passed.
Military and police personnel, public representatives and officials of the district administration accompanied the jawan’s coffin as it was taken to Eguva Regadapalli. On reaching here, the military personnel handed over Sai Teja’s uniform and the national flag that covered the coffin, which carried his mortal remains, to his wife Syamala before the body was taken to the burial ground. His father B. Mohan and mother Bhuvaneswari were inconsolable, while Syamala collapsed on seeing the coffin.
The entire village turned up to attend the last rites of Lance Naik, while thousands of people from the adjoining villages and towns also reached the ground where the soldier’s last rites were performed by his brother, who carried Sai Teja’s five-year-old son Mokshagna. As per their tradition, the mortal remains of the soldier were laid to rest in a ground near the village.
Meanwhile, as the body of Sai Teja was brought in, heart-rending scenes were witnessed at his residence as family members, friends, villagers and even some officials broke down during the funeral. Apart from the Army officials, government officials including joint collector Dr. Venkateswar, Chittoor and Tirupati SPs Senthil Kumar, Venkata Appala Naidu respectively and others also paid last respects. It may be recalled that the state government earlier announced an ex-gratia of `50 lakhs for the family of Sai Teja. Deputy chief minister K. Narayana Swami and panchayat raj minister P. Ramachandra Reddy visited the family on Saturday and extended their condolences, before handing over them a cheque of Rs.50 lakh on behalf of the state government....