Gen. Bipin Rawat had a special bond with Kodagu
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Gen. Bipin Rawat had a special bond with Kodagu

December 9, 2021

Madikeri, Dec. 9 (Agencies)- Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, who was killed in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu yesterday, had a special bond with Kodagu, the district that has given to India Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa and Army Chief General Kodandera S. Thimayya and many Lieutenant Generals, Major Generals, Brigadiers, Air Marshals and a host of other decorated officers who are serving all the three Defence Forces.

When Gen. Bipin Rawat was the Chief of Army Staff, he visited Gonikoppal in South Kodagu in November 2017 to unveil the bronze statues of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya. At the function, he recalled that Kodagu has served the country with distinction by sending a large number of youths to join the Army. He remarked that the sacrifices of the people of Kodagu will always be remembered by the Indian Army.

He had also pitched for Bharat Ratna for Field Marshal Cariappa and announced support to convert Sunny Side, the residence of Gen. Thimayya, into a museum. Locals say that the support of Gen. Bipin Rawat and his contribution to the establishment of the museum was immense and credit him for some of the vintage weapons that are on display at the museum.

He visited Madikeri as the Chief of Defence Staff in February this year along with President Ram Nath Kovind in connection with the inauguration of the museum.

The tragic death has plunged retired officers and former soldiers from Kodagu district into sorrow. The former officers recalled that whenever Rawat was invited to any Army-related events in the district, he readily agreed and it was a break from the stress of work.

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On Aug. 7, 2016, Rawat came here accompanied by the then Chief of Army Staff Dalbir Singh Suhag to attend a conference of retired veterans from Karnataka and Kerala sub-regions in Madikeri. Rawat was then the Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Region. He also participated in an Army golf tournament held in Madikeri. Rawat unveiled the statue of Field Marshal Cariappa and General Thimayya at the Cauvery College premises in Gonikoppal in 2017.

“He was very open about issues and did not mince his words. Even if they were offensive or they heard others, he came out with those. Many people got offended by what he used to say. Nonetheless, he was very frank and expressed himself,” recall officers.

When the Thimayya Museum committee requested him to provide the necessary military equipment, Rawat sent an Army tank and a war plane. He also sent firearms used by late General Thimayya during his service.

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