Lieutenant Nitika Kaul, whose husband, Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal was martyred during an anti-terror operation in Jammu and Kashmir in February 2019, on Monday received the Shaurya Chakra (posthumous) accorded to him, at an investiture ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In a video shared by news agency ANI, Lieutenant Kaul, dressed in her Army uniform, and accompanied by her mother-in-law, is seen marching towards President Ram Nath Kovind to accept the bravery award accorded to Major Dhoundiyal. A voice in the background narrates the operation which led to the officer’s martyrdom.
In February 2020, almost a year after the demise of Major Dhoundiyal, Nitika Kaul left her day job to join the Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA), after clearing the written exam and interview for the Indian Army’s Short Service Commission (SSC), the training for which is given at the academy.
In May 2021, she passed out from the OTA as Lieutenant Nitika Kaul, with Lieutenant General YK Joshi, who heads the force’s Northern Command, pipping stars to her shoulders. A native of J&K, she married Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal in April 2018.
VS Dhoundiyal was martyred during an operation on February 18, 2019, four days after a suicide attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Officer (CRPF) in J&K’s Pulwama. A member of the 55 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), he was seriously injured during an exchange of fire with terrorists, and eventually succumbed to his injuries, but not before neutralising a foreign terrorist. Total five terrorists were killed in the operation and 200 kg explosives recovered.
A video of Kaul saluting her husband during his last rites went viral on social media.