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Protocols Of Condolence: Why President Kovind Did Not Place Wreath On CDS Body

Initial buzz said President Ramnath Kovind would be among dignitaries to lay a wreath on the mortal remains of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and others killed in the Tamil Nadu helicopter crash, at the Palam air base.  Apparently, however, as per protocol the President may not place a wreath on the bodies of any soldier. Being Supreme Commander of the armed forces he may not discriminate between a general or a soldier while paying tributes. The President, of course, had canceled all engagements after the helicopter crash and tweeted his condolences to the bereaved families. The PM and Defence Minister who laid wreaths had actually done so on behalf of the President. However, when it comes to commiserating civilian deaths, the President is not encumbered by any such protocols. Ramnath Kovind was first to write to Mallika Dua, daughter of late journalist and Padma Shri awardee Vinod Dua who passed away early this month. PM Modi also followed suit, condoling Dua’s demise. Modi’s gesture surprised some in the news media as the late journalist was among the PM’s staunchest critics. Was it a move intended to soften the liberal media that is vocally against the PM or, just a routine letter from the PMO? Only time will tell.