Date of Birth : December 18, 1987
Place of birth : Dehradun, U'khand
Service : Army
Last Rank : Major
Unit : 55 RR/EME
Arm/Regt : The Corps of EME
Awards : Shaurya Chakra
Martyrdom : February 18, 2019
Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal hailed from Dehradun in Uttarakhand and was born on 18 Dec 1987. Son of Shri OP Dhondiyal and Smt Saroj Dhondiyal, Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal had three sisters and was the youngest among his siblings. Maj Vibhuti’s father as well as grandfather had worked in the office of Controller Defence Accounts. Maj Vibhuti studied from St Joseph Academy Dehradun and later completed his graduation from DAV college at Dehradun. He was very keen to join the Armed Forces right from his childhood and continued to pursue his dream while studying. Soon after his graduation, he cleared the Combined Defence Services Examination and got selected to join the Army. He was commissioned on 18 Sep 2011 into the Corps Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME), a branch of the Indian Army, responsible for design, development, trial, inspection and refit of weapon systems and equipment.
As a young Lieutenant, he was sent on attachment to an infantry unit 17 Mahar, deployed at Nangi Tekra in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in J&K. He soon honed his field craft skills and evolved into a committed soldier. After his tenure in J&K along the LOC, he served in varous Army formations in Rajasthan, Pune and Secundrabad. He also underwent a number of training courses from 2013 to 2017 at various Army Institutes, which equipped him with the knowledge of military tactics and leadership. After serving for a few years with his parent Corps, Maj Vibhuti in the year 2018, was deputed to serve with 55 RR Battalion, deployed in J & K for counterinsurgency operations. Maj Vibhuti intially functioned as Officer Commanding of Field Repair Increment (FRI) of EME, but later took over as Company Commander of Delta company of 55 RR battalion. Maj Vibhuti later got married to Ms Nitika Kaul belonging to a Delhi-based Kashmiri family on 19th April 2018.
Pulwama Operation: 18 Feb 2019
During 2018-2019, Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal’s unit 55 RR, was deployed in Pulwama district in J&K and was engaged in operations against the militants on a regular basis. Following the terrorists’ attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on 14 Feb 2019, the security forces were maintaining a state of high alert, and subsequently, a massive operation was launched to nab the perpetrators of the attack. On 17 Feb 2019, the security forces received credible information from the intelligence sources about the presence of terrorists in Pinglan village of Pulwama district. Based on the intelligence inputs 55 RR along with the Special Operation Group of J & K Police launched a search and destroy operation in Pinglan a neighborhood of Kakpora the home of the terrorist, who had attacked the CRPF convoy on 14 Feb.
The assault team was being led by Brigadier Harbir Singh himself and Maj Vibhuti was part of the team. The operation was launched in the night of 17 Feb with fog and poor visibility conditions making the matters worse. At around 1 AM, Maj Vibhuti and his QRT members reached the suspected house and carried out an extensive search. Following a footprint trail, Maj Vibhuti and his comrades reached a cattle shed on the other side of the house. As they moved closer to the shed, the terrorists opened fire. As Maj Vibhuti was leading the team, he bore the brunt of the attack and received multiple gun shots. Undeterred, Maj Vibhuti immediately swung into action and ordered his men to reorganize and attack. Despite being injured, Maj Vibhuti crawled forward and managed to eliminate one terrorist. In a desperate attempt to flee, the remaining terrorists threw a grenade which proved fatal for Maj Vibhuti and his valiant men. The injured soldiers were shifted to the Army Hospital but Maj Vibhuti and three of his comrades Hav Sheo Ram, Sep Ajay Kumar and Sep Hari Singh, succumbed to their injuries and were martyred. Maj Vibhuti was a valiant soldier and a fine officer who led from the front and laid down his life in the service of the nation, following the highest traditions of the Indian Army. Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal was given the gallantry award, “Shaurya Chakra” for his exceptional courage, devotion to duty, and supreme sacrifice.
Maj Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal is survived by his mother Smt Saroj Dhondiyal, wife Smt Nitika Kaul Dhondiyal, and three sisters. Later carrying forward the legacy of her husband, Smt Nitika Kaul joined the Indian Army and was commissioned into the Army Ordnance Corps in May 2021.
The citation for ‘Shaurya Chakra’ awarded to him reads:
On 17 February 2019, when the input of the presence of a terrorist group in a village was received, Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal planned a Battalion level operation. During the search, the officer was fired upon by terrorist hiding in a cow shed resulting in multiple gunshot injuries to him. Despite being severely injured, the officer maintained his tactical composure and retaliated against terrorist fire. Exhibiting utter disregard for his personal safety, the officer crawled closer to the cowshed in line of fire to bring down effective fire on hiding terrorists. Subsequently, when terrorists moved out of the cowshed firing indiscriminately, the officer fired on fleeing terrorists facilitating the elimination of one terrorist. The officer succumbed to his injuries at the operation site while fighting with terrorists. The terrorist eliminated was identified as a foreign terrorist , responsible for an IED attack on security forces.
For displaying conspicuous bravery and unparalleled courage resulting in the elimination of one terrorist Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal is recommended for the award of “Shaurya Chakra (Posthumous)”.