IAF conducts fly-pasts across India saluting ‘corona warriors’

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Armed forces showers flower petals from choppers on Delhi hospitals 

NEW DELHI, May 3 (AGENCIES): Fighter jets and transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force on Sunday carried out fly-pasts over major cities and towns while military choppers showered petals on leading hospitals across the country as part of a mega exercise to express gratitude to lakhs of doctors, paramedics and other front-line workers battling the coronavirus pandemic.

A fleet of military jets comprising Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29 and Jaguar flew over Rajpath, Delhi’s centrepiece boulevard, and then, orbited over the city and the national capital region for around 30 minutes from 11 am.

Premier transport aircraft C-130 also carried out a separate fly-past over the Delhi and the NCR region. The aircraft flew at an approximate height of 500 metres to 1000 metres keeping aerospace safety in mind, a senior official in the Indian Air Force said.

The thanks-giving activities started with laying of wreaths at the national police memorial in Delhi to honour the police personnel deployed in the enforcement of the nationwide lockdown, officials said.

A military chopper also showered petals on the memorial. Besides Delhi, the Indian Air Force conducted fly-pasts in a number of cities including Mumbai, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Patna, Lucknow, Srinagar, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Thiruvananthapuram, they said.

A large number of helicopters belonging to the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy dropped flower petals over leading hospitals treating coronavirus patients across the country including in Delhi, Shillong, Guwahati and Mumbai. Army’s military bands also performed outside leading hospitals.

In the evening, the Eastern Naval Command and Western Naval Command are illuminating a number of ships docked at major ports.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat on Friday had announced that the three services will carry out a series of activities to thank the “corona warriors”. In a series of tweets, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented the armed forces for carrying out the activities to show respects of the armed forces to the front-line people fighting the pandemic.

“I thank the Armed Forces for their special initiatives like fly pasts, showering flower petals and several other performances to express gratitude towards medical professionals, police and other frontline warriors. The entire nation stands united in these challenging times,” Singh said.

He said the “frontline warriors” are doing commendable work in strengthening India’s fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Healthcare workers in the national capital received a beautiful surprise on Sunday as helicopters hovered over city hospitals, showering flower petals to thank the “corona warriors”.

While the workers were “elated” and “overwhelmed” by the gesture, they also said it will send out a message to those who have stigmatised and humiliated them. They also emphasised upon the need to provide more PPE kits to the frontline staff.

A fleet of military jets carried out a spectacular fly-past over the national capital as part of a nationwide exercise to express gratitude to lakhs of doctors, paramedics, sanitation staff and other frontline workers engaged in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

The military jets, including Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29 and Jaguar, flew over Rajpath, Delhi’s centrepiece boulevard, and then orbited over the city for around 30 minutes from 11 am.

“The forces have done what people have not done — giving due recognition and according respect to doctors, who are putting their lives on the line like the Army does for the nation. The gesture is really heartwarming,” said Dr Neeraj Gupta, professor in the Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the Safdarjung Hospital.

He said even the prime minister had appealed to people not to mistreat doctors and healthcare workers and on the day of the “Janata Curfew”, urged them to clap in the honour of the corona warriors.

“Despite all these pleas, the frontline staff have faced the wrath of those very people for whom they are working,” he said.

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