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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Dehradun soldier’s body found 7 months after LoC avalanche

The eldest among four siblings, Rajendra joined the Garhwal Rifles regiment in 2001. He is survived by his wife Rajeshwari, two daughters and a son.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun | Updated: August 17, 2020 5:44:14 am
Rajendra Singh

Seven months after Garhwal Rifles Havildar Rajendra Singh (35) from Dehradun went missing in an avalanche while patrolling at the Line of Control (LoC) in Gulmarg, his family received information about the recovery of his body on Saturday.

According to Rajendra’s relatives, the Army in May declared him a “battle-casualty” and Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat earlier this month sent a condolence message to his wife, but she had refused to accept that Rajendra is dead since the body had not been recovered.

The eldest among four siblings, Rajendra joined the Garhwal Rifles regiment in 2001. He is survived by his wife Rajeshwari, two daughters and a son.

“Rajendra last came to Dehradun in October 2019 for Diwali and when he resumed duty, he was posted in Gulmarg at the LoC. On January 9 this year, we received information from the Army that he had gone missing after an avalanche,” said Dinesh Negi, a retired Armyman and Rajendra’s cousin.

Dinesh said that when the Army could not trace Rajendra for three days, he had lost hope. “During my service, I had been posted in Siachen and I am aware that no one can survive under such snow cover for more than two days. I told this to his family. But his wife Rajeshwari refused to accept his death as the body had not been found. We sent communications to Defence ministry officials with a request to intensify the search,” said Dinesh, who retired in 2015 as Naik.

Chief Minister Rawat, too, had urged Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to intensify the efforts to find Rajendra.

Dinesh said the Army in May declared Rajendra a battle casualty, but Rajeshwari and her children were hopeful for his return till 12:30 pm on Saturday when she received a call from a Subedar Major-rank officer who said Rajendra’s body has been found near the same place from where he went missing. “But still she wants to see his body to come to that conclusion,” he added.

According to battle casualty certificate dated May 21, Rajendra went missing (presumed dead) on January 9, 2020 due to snow slide (natural calamity) while performing operational duty on the Line of Control in Operation Rakshak.

On Sunday, the Chief Minister tweeted that Rajendra’s body had been found and he saluted him for the supreme sacrifice.

Dinesh said the body is in Srinagar Base Hospital and will be brought to Dehradun on Tuesday.

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