Flights carrying soldiers' bodies may observe 30 seconds of silence
Passengers traveling in Indian planes carrying the mortal remains of military personnel martyred in combat may soon be requested to observe 30 seconds of silence. A proposal for this by the armed forces has been forwarded to all airlines for inputs via the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The DGCA has forwarded a template for the announcement to be made on such flights.
"It is our proud privilege/moment to announce that today on our flight we have amongst us the mortal remains of an extremely brave and gallant soldier of the Indian Army/Navy/Air Force… We request you to observe 30 seconds of silence for the departed soul," the proposed template says. "The script is in the draft stage, and not final yet," a DGCA official said.
The DGCA regulator's move has left some experts bemused. "Bodies of martyrs are being carried in flights for many years and everyone involved in the process, including the airline, pay the respect they deserve," said aviation analyst Shakti Lumba. Under current rules, airlines conduct a brief ceremony before a deceased soldier's body is placed in the aircraft.
"We go beyond the prescribed rules in paying respect to a deceased soldier's body," an airline executive said. "DGCA seems to be focussing on all the wrong aspects of aviation," another executive said, adding that, "it has become a regulator for nationalistic fervour."