Policemen stood guard outside the residence of Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal at Nashville Road area in Dehradun Monday afternoon, stopping anyone who tried to enter.
Saroj Dhoundiyal, about 60 years old, did not know that her son was killed in an encounter with militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama.
“The Major’s mother has been informed that he is injured. She has a heart ailment. So we can’t let anyone from outside the family… break the news to her. It could have severe consequences on her health,” a policeman said.
The body of Major Dhoundiyal reached Dehradun Monday evening and the funeral will be held on Tuesday.
His childhood friend Mayank Khanduri said Dhoundiyal last visited Dehradun about two months back. “We didn’t get to spend much time together. I remember telling him that we should spend more time when he visits next,” Khanduri said.
Khanduri said Dhoundiyal joined the Army in 2011 and spent most of his service years in Jammu and Kashmir.
The youngest among four siblings, Dhoundiyal was “simple, had no arrogance, and was very respectful”, his neighbour Suman Kala said. “He married only last year. It is not even a year and he’s gone forever,” Kala said.
Dhoundiyal married Nitika Kaul in April last year. Nitika, who works for an MNC in Delhi, had left Dehradun for Delhi on Monday morning. She received the news while she was on her way and returned to Dehradun.
Dhoundiyal studied at the St. Joseph’s Academy in Dehradun till Class X and moved to Pine Hall School for Classes XI-XII. He completed BSc from DAV PG College before joining Army. “He was passionate about joining the Army since childhood,” Khanduri said.
A senior Army officer remembered Dhoundiyal as a “brave officer”. “He was the officer who would take lead in the operations. He was extremely intelligent and brave,” said the officer.