As I posted the pathetic story of Capt Vijendra Singh Gurung of 3 ASSAM, I have been flooded with requests from large hearted veterans who are moved by the plight of the poor officer. I just got a call from an officer of 3 ASSAM who spoke to me for more than one hour from 2305 hrs of 22 Jan to 0005 hrs of 23 Jan 2018. He thanked TSEWA which is going out of its way to rehabilitate Capt Vijendra Gurung. He told he and Capt VS Gurung are from the same battalion and both were subalterns in 3 ASSAM in 1971. He informed me that his battalion was not deployed in Chamb – Juarian sector but in Fazilka sector. Many officers confuse 3 ASSAM with 5 ASSAM which was actually deployed in Chamb – Jaurian whose fate was similar to 3 ASSAM.
Capt Vijendar Gurung is from SS – 11 Course and joined 3 ASSAM in Aug 1971 just before the 1971 Indo Pak War. He being a sturdy and of athletic build was appointed as Commando Platoon Commander. Unfortunately Pakis laid an ambush on that fateful day of 3 Dec 1971 and Capt Vijendra Gurung and his commando platoon was caught by Pakis and taken as Prisoners of War. In the defensive battle, 3 ASSAM lost five officers when Pakis attacked their battalion location.
Capt Vijendra Gurung on repatriation from Pakistan in 1973 thanks to International Red Cross was not sent back to 3 ASSAM. It is surprising to note that Army HQ or AGs branch or any other Directorate which deals with PWs did not take care to inform the battalions to which the PWs belong to. We talk of Administration etc but on ground we do not even practice a simple thing. Even 3 ASSAM like many other units could not get details of fate of missing soldiers but we shed copious tears on well -being of our men. This is how our PWs on return from Pakistan were looked after by our great Army HQ of those days. All guilty men who were commanding bdes, divs and corps, because of their lack of leadership and professional competence became Corps Cdrs, Army Cdrs and Vice-Chiefs justifying their incompetence. Their lack of professional competence resulted in many of our men became PWs. As you know as on today we have 54 PWs languishing in Paki jails because of these incompetent bde, div and corps cdrs of 1971 in Western Theatre.
3 ASSAM lost total contact with Capt VS Gurung after the war but only know that the officer did not opt for permanent commission though he is from King George’s Military School Chail, HP. The least the Army HQ could have done is to get psychiatric treatment to all the PWs who were repatriated from Pakistan in 1973. But nothing seems to have been done to Capt Vijendra Gurung.
What made this officer going into a shell is not known. But now 3 ASSAM Regimental officers after, I broke out the story of Capt Vijendra Gurung in social media thanks to Maj Khan, Lt Col Anil Joshi have come together. One officer (whose father commanded 3 ASSAM in 1971 war) had gone and met Capt Vijendra in Garhi Cantt in Dehradun on 21/22 Jan 2018 and was shaken to see the place he was living and in total penury. What made this Officer not to seek help from ASSAM Regt is difficult to find out. Capt Vijendra Gurung is not totally mentally imbalanced. He is normal and does speak like any retired officer. The Army Cdr Central Comd who is also Col of the ASSAM Regt has taken initiative to get medical treatment to Capt Vijendra Gurung. 3 ASSAM is trying to rehabilitate the officer so that he gets back his self –esteem and confidence to lead a normal life which every retired officer is entitled to.
We cannot leave fate of Capt Virendra Gurung to 3 ASSAM or to ASSAM Regt but every one of us in our own small way help this unfortunate officer to become a normal retired officer like you and I. TSEWA will ensure he gets monthly financial assistance so that he does not have become a labourer again.
I thank all officers who are volunteering to give donations to Capt Vijendra Gurung to send it in the form of Cheque drawn in favour of TSEWA Corpus (No NEFT or internet transfers please):-
Col Dr GB Sethi (Rtd)
General Secretary, TSEWA
143, Vayupuri, Sainikpuri (PO)
Secunderabad – 500094.
I was totally shaken up when I first heard the story of Capt Vijendra Singh Gurung. But with help pouring in from so many and 3 ASSAM itself taking interest, my confidence that we will look after our own brothers in arms in distress is restored.