Major Nisheet Dogra martyred in Sikkim, father asks govt to improve conditions

Major Nisheet Dogra of Indian army has martyred in the snow-fall incident that took place in North Sikkim. He was a resident of Noida in Uttar Pradesh.

Major Nisheet Dogra was posted in the border areas of North Sikkim for two years. On Saturday afternoon, he martyred due to heavy snowfall. His body was found dead under five-six feet under the snow. 

“After an intense search, at about 10 pm, the search party located Maj Nisheet Dogra who was trapped under five to six feet of snow. The officer was given immediate medical aid. However, around midnight, the brave heart lost the battle of life and attained martyrdom in the line of duty,” read an official statement on Sunday.

Father of Major Nisheet Dogra, Umesh Chander asked govt. to improve the facilities of soldiers because There was no electricity for over a week. No generator working.

We received a story from unknown source which is going viral in social media about Major Nisheet Dogra. An unidentified person described the story about Major Nisheet Dogra. Read this inspirational stroy below:

WHY, OH! WHY GOD? WHY HIM?

I run a transit camp. My residence & the transit camp officer’s mess are barely five feet apart. Nevertheless, I always make it a point to dress up & visit the mess for all three meals, daily. I never order food into my room. In fact I never order food into my room anywhere, even in a hotel. The reasons are many.

Firstly, its a strain on the staff to serve me in my room. Secondly, its almost obscene to have unwashed crockery & utensils lying in one’s room as you retire for the day. Thirdly, the smell of the used crockery, utensils & leftover food tends to seep into every nook, cranny, furniture, linen & clothing in the room. But the principal reason I go to the mess is to meet people. You see, my outfit is a transit unit & as such I receive a new lot of people, officers, JCOs, OR & even some civilians in my unit almost everyday. I run the first stage acclimatisation camp. I probably have more officers and men on any given day, than any Inf battalion or Arty regiment. They all spend 8 – 10 days on an average acclimatising with us before leaving for their tough assignments in super-high altitudes. Occasionally, when the weather is bad or when the lines of communication are disrupted, these people spend more days with us. So, apart from my routine rounds of the camp, I make it a point to be there at the mess to interact with these officers. This is their first stage of induction into the high altitude area & I feel obligated to meet & greet them and learn from them. I am fortunate to the extent that I get a fairly eclectic mix of officers at the camp. Nearing middle age in life & old age in service, I consciously avoid sliding into rambling reminiscences and hemming & hawing about my days etc that will not only bore the officers but also waste their precious time. So I try to keep the conversation on the table brief and limited to the time taken to consume the pudding & be served the after mint. Still, you get to talk a lot during these interludes.

But this is not a story of my mess going habits. It is sadly an obituary. You see, most officers I notice want to just get done with their meals and get back to their rooms and their mobiles and laptops. They do not want to interact in the mess. Many sit in far off tables & seldom make the effort to come & join you for the meal at your table if it is empty. I suppose the fact that liquor is banned at this location is one of the reasons for this lacklustre motivation to interact. It is curious for the government does authorise us all Rum & Cigarette Allowance at this location. But then orders are orders.

There are however a few officers who like to spend time with the people around, interact with them & allow for reciprocal learning from each other’s experiences. One such officer was Maj Nisheet Dogra, newly posted to take over an Independent Armoured Squadron in High Altitude Area. He came in here on 19 Jan 19, from the Western Sector, as usual for the regular acclimatisation. He was different, I noticed. He interacted with people around and tried to imbibe from them. He was placed on reserve for the upcoming Junior Command Course that he felt he may have to attend. So he came over to me on 26 Jan 19, asking me to teach him about the employment of Artillery and other professional subjects. We spent hours in my room discussing the mechanics of Fire Planning and the art of writing a tactical appreciation over mugs of black coffee. He was an intent listener and a conscientious learner. Apart from tactics and other professional subjects, he would discuss with me as to how he can develop the infrastructure and facilities for his squadron, that was newly inducting from the plains to take over its role in a High Altitude Area. He spent about 15 days here, stuck as he was along with many other officers because of heavy snow that precluded movement along the road going upto his location and beyond. In all these days, I noticed that he continued to learn from people around and spent time studying in his room. He was generally concerned that his handing/ taking over period was being depleted by the weather that was preventing his move to the designated location to take over from the existing squadron that was scheduled to move out shortly.

He left this place on 31 Jan 19 to the next stage acclimatisation. He reached his sub-unit location I presume on 05 Feb 19 after the four days second stage acclimatisation at the next transit camp. I hear that he even continued to interact with the CO of the next transit camp on similar lines. Considering the usual four day handing/ taking over period for appointments, I presume that he would have taken over the same on 09 Feb 19.

It snowed heavily yesterday in this sector especially in the higher reaches where it touched close to 6 – 8 feet. At about 1500 – 1530hrs on 09 Feb 19, a large and heavy mass of snow slid down the mountainside & struck the temporary ‘Chakda’ shelter of Maj Nisheet Dogra. The mass of snow broke in from one end of the shelter, flushing everything inside including the officer who was probably resting in his bed along with his belongings & furniture from the other side. The officer was probably hit badly on his head by some blunt object even as he was washed out of his shelter and buried 3 – 4 feet under the snow, with his belongings and furniture scattered over a 50 – 70m distance. Nobody had noticed the same. At about 1600 – 1630hr, I believe some other officer was trying to contact him on the telephone and when he got no response he sent someone to look him up. The people could not find the officer & soon having realised that he may be buried under the snow, the unit was assembled and they started digging & pulled him out from under about 20 – 30m away from his shelter at about 2200hrs (nearly 5 – 6hrs later). I am told his body was frozen stiff & he had a severe gash on his head, but he probably had some weak pulse. He could not be evacuated because the roads were not cleared for move due to snow and the night flying ALH couldn’t make it, for whatever reason. In any case he was in a bad shape and was declared dead at around midnight.

Three Cheetahs of the Army and One Cheetah and one Chetak of the IAF came here in the morning and couldn’t pick up the body from the place purportedly due to snow, although they were equipped with skis. Finally, the troops moved the body to another helipad five km away in a tank (a tank mind you) from where a Mi – 17 finally evacuated his body at around 1530hrs (24hrs after the tragedy).

The above incident brings to light so many points to ponder. We are talking about a two and half front war, but we are unable to open up a road to even one front. Imagine, it took 24hrs to evacuate a body. I really do not know why a night evacuation was not attempted, but we have received assurances from higher HQ that when required ALH will be used for night evacuation. However, I cannot fathom how the pilots can suddenly one fine day take off on a critical night mission, if they have not practiced the same during normal periods. I have never seen an ALH arrive in this area by night or even dusk. I am sure they are capable, but you have to rigorously practice these things during peace if you have to execute such missions in war or during a crisis. If you cannot take risk in peace, do you really think you can summon the courage and the ability to take one during war and execute it effectively.

The next aspect is the roads in these areas. Even after so many years we do not have proper roads to support our troops. Imagine, they could not evacuate a casualty because the road is full of snow. We do not have snow clearing machines. In any case, these machines only function well when the roads are smooth tarmac. How can you clear a road that is full of boulders and rocks. A body was transported by a tank. The GREF dozers that are ordinarily used for these purposes are not functional most of the time.

Then comes our habitat. A ‘Chakda’ shelter is nothing but a semi-circular tin sheet with improvised entry/ exit on either sides. Its uncomfortable to live & inefficient to heat and yet we house our troops in these at high altitudes where temperatures touch -25 to -40 degrees celsius. We do not plan the layout of our habitat well and let things develop in an ad hoc & haphazard manner with no siting keeping terrain, weather and geographic considerations. We are like those idiots in Hawai, who built a settlement next to an active volcano and were then wondering why there’s lava in their living room. Our utilities are so poorly planned that we cannot supply water to these troops in pipelines that do not freeze in the severe winters. Electricity is either non-existent or through generators and the installations are so poorly done that there is always the danger of short circuit, electrocution or fire.

And yet war game after war game after war game after war game, we keep hemming & hawing about defeating this or that enemy. We want to create IBGs to make vacancies for higher ranks, but we cannot plan a simple settlement of troops that is safe from essential elements, forget the enemy.

It is about time we got ourselves to plan well, train well & execute well. We are doing none of the above. We are day by day becoming a scared and indifferent army. We are passing orders that absolve us of potential crisis and consequently and have over the years made our personnel (officers, JCOs & OR) incapable of performing in a crisis. We are just managing the aftermath of a crisis and congratulating ourselves of getting through the day. This is true of all arms and services and all cadres.

Nisheet Dogra’s death was tragic, untimely & I feel highly avoidable. The young man had dreams that he shall never realise now. He is survived by a wife whom he had married not a year ago.

Lastly, I carry a a mixed bag of remorse and requital in my mind. Remorse that Nisheet died so young for nothing and requital that my lessons were probably the last items in his dreams of a good soldiering career, when the mountain claimed him. I feel that my regular visits to the mess allowed me to meet this truly energetic young man who was not aloof, indifferent or self engrossed but was bubbling with enthusiasm and zest for life and willing to interact with people and learn, and while his face and smile still haunt me I am also thankful for that for otherwise he would have been just another faceless casualty among many that our army suffers for nothing.

The only eternal question is Why Him God? Why Him!

Rest In Peace you grateful departed soul. There are no more fire plans or appreciations to bother you.

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