KATHMANDU, March 2: The last rites of six of the seven deceased in Taplejung helicopter crash including Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari were performed on Friday. Minister Adhikari’s last rites were performed with state honor at Ramghat of Kaski, the home district of the deceased minister.
The last rites of five others killed in the crash -- Yubaraj Dahal, Arjun Ghimire, Captain Pravakar KC, aviation officials Birendra Shrestha and Dhruba Das Bhochhibhoya, were performed at Pashupati Aryaghat in Kathmandu as per Hindu tradition.
The body of tourism entrepreneur Ang Tshering Sherpa, will be cremated only on Sunday. Sherpa’s body is currently at the Swayambhu shrine.
Army’s sky truck had airlifted Minister Adhikari’s body to Pokhara from Kathmandu shortly after a public condolence function at Tudikhel on Friday. Adhikari’s wife, Bidya Bhattarai, and eldest son Biraj jointly lit Adhikari’s funeral pyre. Locals, well-wishers and officials in their thousands were present during the cremation.
Adhikari, a three times parliamentarian from Kaski district, was appointed tourism minister a year ago. Considered popular in his home constituency and among youths, Adhikari had expedited construction of stalled-development projects and expanded airports in remote and mountain districts. During his one year as minister, Adhikari was struggling to expand the proposed international airports in Pokhara, Bhairahawa and Nijgadh and improve the poor aviation safety in the country.
A Dynasty Air helicopter carrying seven persons including Adhiarki had crashed in Taplejung on Wednesday when they were returning to Kathmandu after an inspection of an airport in Tehrathum.
After the inspection, they had visited the famous Pathibhara temple and their helicopter crashed immediately after taking off for Kathmandu.
Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel and chief minister of Gandaki province Prithvi Subba Gurung draped the national flag on the body of Minister Adhikari whereas Nepal Communist Party leaders Bamdev Gautam and Narayankaji Shrestha draped Adhikari’s body with party flag.
During the cremation, Nepal Army offered gun salute in honor of the deceased minister.
Earlier in the day, the bodies of the seven killed in the helicopter accident were kept at Tundikhel in Kathmandu from 8-11 am to allow the members of public to offer their last tributes, and later the bodies were handed over to the respective families.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister KP Oli and thousands of people paid their tributes to the victims at Tundikhel.