Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal(Shaurya Chakra)

Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal (Undisclosed location)




Hailing from a middle class Dehradun family, Vibhuti Dhoundiyal always dreamt to join the Indian Army, soon after his graduation he cleared CDS examination and underwent a rigorous training at OTA, Chennai. Commissioned into IA on 17 Sept 2011, Lieutenant Vibhuti Dhoundiyal soon transformed into a committed soldier with fine field skills. After the Pulwama attack he was on a mission to hunt the perpetrators, during a fierce gun battle lasting 20 hrs, Major Dhoundiyal led from the front & fought

with sheer pluck and boldness. He succumbed to injuries but inspired his troops to take down the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists. For his gallant & grit, he was honored with Shaurya Chakra posthumously.

Vibhuti Dhoundiyal (3rd from left)

Born on 18 December 1987 in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Vibhuti Dhoundiyal had three sisters and he was the youngest among the siblings. Father Shri OP Dhoundiyal worked in the office of Controller Defence Accounts, while mother Shrimati Saroj Dhoundiyal was a housewife. Maj Vibhuti had studied at St. Joseph School Dehradun and completed his BSc degree from DAV college in Dehradun.

"He was passionate to join the army since childhood" said one of his friends. Vibhuti appeared for the Combined Defence Services(CDS) Examination after his graduation and came out with flying colors. He was selected to undergo training at Officers Training Academy(OTA), Chennai and was commissioned into the Electronic and Mechanical Engineers (EME) corps on 17 September 2011.

After serving his parent Unit, The Corps of EME, Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal was deputed to serve in the 55 RR battalion in Jammu & Kashmir for counter insurgency operations.

Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal with wife Nikita Kaul

Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal got married on 19th April 2018 to Nikita Kaul who hailed from a Delhi based Kashmiri Family.

But soon after his marriage, he was deployed in the J&K. During his 8 years of services in Indian Army, Major Vibhuti had carried out many operations alongside his unit, 55 Rashtriya Rifles.

Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal

One of the dreadful days for the nation, the 14 February 2019 Pulwama attack on the CRPF convoy shook the country. 78 Vehicles were transporting 2500 CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar via NH44 when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed his car with over 100 kgs of explosives into the CRPF bus in Pulwama district killing 40 CRPF Jawans and injuring many others. The suicide bomber was later identified as Adil Ahmed alias Waqas Commander from Kakapora in Pulwama. The whole nation was angered, Indian Army whilst the attack carried out massive search and cordon operation in Lethpora, Awantipora in Pulwama district.

Following a lead and intelligence input, a team of 55 RR battalion took on the charge to hunt down the hiding perpetrators in the early morning of 17 February 2019. The sources had hinted towards presence of terrorists in Pinglan village, a neighborhood of Kakpora(the home of suicide bomber) in Pulwama district.

Brigadier Harbir Singh CO 55 RR

The assault team was led by the Commanding Officer of 55 RR, Brigadier Harbir Singh and Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal was part of the operating team. On being challenged the terrorists hiding in a cow-shed opened fire on the 55 RR team, Maj Vibhuti tried to take on them from back side, however he was met with heavy firing as the number of terrorist in the hideout were more than earlier speculated. Major Dhoundiyal at such times led from the front, crawled to the shed and shot dead three terrorists with pin point accuracy, unfortunately one of the enemy bullet pierced through him during the firing exchange and he later succumbed to his injuries. Three soldiers were also martyred during the operation while Brigadier Harbir Singh himself was injured. His fearlessness, bravery and aptness inspired rest of his troops to take down the enemy.

The fierce gun battle between the Indian Army and the terrorists went on for more than 20 hours and during this operation a number of hardcore terrorists responsible for the attack on CRPF convoy were eliminated.

Shaurya Chakra

Despite being severely injured Major Vibhuti Dhoundiyal showed exceptional courage, maintained his tactical composure resulting in elimination of terrorists in hiding. He was honored with Shaurya Chakra posthumously on 15th August 2019.

Remembering Major Vibhuti, his sister Vaishnavi Dhoundiyal said,

“He was very excited to come home for his 1st anniversary celebrations. He had even planned his leaves in the 1st week of April but I asked him to come later as our leave schedules were not matching. Since the wedding, we had been thinking of putting up pictures of their marriage in this room. We even had them ready but were not able to put them up. The thought scares us now that instead of the couple, a photograph of our brother will hang on this wall.”

Nikita Kaul paying tribute to Maj Vibhuti Dhoundiyal

In moving images at the funeral, Nitika stood before her husband's body and said “I’m really proud... You lied to me that you loved me. In fact you loved the nation way more... We all love you.”

Nikita Kaul Dhoundiyal showing exemplary courage decided to follow her husband's path and join the Indian Army.

Nikita Kaul Dhoundiyal during her SSB interview

It requires utmost courage to bear such a grief in life, while families of Armed Forces constantly live in such fear all the time, examples of Nikita Kaul Dhoundiyal inspire many more to join the forces. She now overtakes the baton from her husband to serve in the Indian Army, she is currently undergoing training at OTA Chennai, the very same place from where her husband trained a decade ago. Soon she will be taking on challenges not as Nikita Kaul but Lieutenant Nikita Kaul Dhoundiyal.

Now I feel closer to Major Vibhuti. I am also very excited to be part of the Indian Army and live the same life that my husband always admired. It is more like living the same life as him in a parallel universe.

KnowYourHeroes. Lest we forget them

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