Service No : 4583200N
Place of birth : Hassan , Karnataka
Service : Army
Last Rank : Sepoy
Unit : 51 RR/13 Mahar
Arm/Regt : The Mahar Regiment
Operation : CI & IS Ops
Martyrdom : January 25, 2017
Sepoy Sandeep Kumar hailed from Devihalli village of Hassan district Karnataka. He was Inspired by his grandfather and his uncle Manju Shetty, who had earlier served in the Indian Army, eventually, he got selected to join the Army after completing his initial education. He was recruited into the 13 Mahar battalion of the Mahar Regiment, an infantry Regiment well known for its dauntless soldiers and numerous battle exploits. After serving for few years with his parent unit, he was deputed to serve with the 51 RR unit, deployed in J & K for counter-insurgency operations.
Gurez sector avalanche: 25 Jan 2017
During Jan 2017, Sep Sandeep Kumar's unit was deployed in the Gurez sector of North Kashmir along the LOC. The AOR(Area of Responsibility) of the unit spanned over remote rugged mountainous terrain with extreme weather conditions, especially in the winter season. The troops were deployed on various forward posts and often undertook patrol to monitor the area in between the manned posts. Also, heavy snowfall often blocked the roads and hampered the movement of troops which necessitated frequent clearance operations. On 25 Jan 2017, a horrific avalanche struck 51 RR battalion Army camp, which took Sep Sandeep Kumar and many of his comrades off guard. The avalanche hit the post at Neeru village located in the Tulail area, 25 km away from Gurez town in North Kashmir. The place located along the LOC normally remained cut off by road in winter. The avalanche hit the area a few hundred meters away from the HQs of 51 RR unit and trapped the soldiers, who were on patrol.
The soldiers invariably faced extreme risks in manning the inhospitable terrain under extreme weather conditions. Avalanches usually took place due to the accumulation of snow and were triggered by morning sunlight. In other cases, when the slope of accumulated snow was between 60 to 80 degrees, the instability led to an avalanche. Although the Army had a unit of the Snow Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) in Jammu and Kashmir, with several observatories at various locations to issue warnings and alerts to the Army formations and units, it could not detect this avalanche. The magnitude and suddenness of the avalanche did not give any time to Sep Sandeep Kumar and other soldiers of the 51 RR battalion to take any defensive measures. As a result, the soldiers got buried under tons of snow and it was very difficult to locate them.
A massive rescue operation was launched by the Army which continued for several hours to locate and rescue the trapped soldiers. The teams of Army undertook rescue operations under extreme weather conditions but could not save the lives of Sep Sandeep Kumar and thirteen other soldiers. Besides Sep Sandeep Kumar, the other martyred brave-hearts included Nb Sub Aram Singh Gurjar , Hav Vijay Kumar Shukla, Naik Ajit Singh, Sep Samundare Vikas, Sep Sanju Suresh Khandare, Sep Anand Gawai, Sep Sunil Patel, Sep Nagaraju Mamidi, Sep Devender Kumar Soni, Sep Elaverson B, Sep Azad Singh, Sep Sundara Pandi, and Craftsman Ankur Singh. Sep Sandeep Kumar was a valiant soldier who laid down his life in the line of his duty.
Sepoy Sandeep Kumar is survived by his parents Shri Puttaraju and mother Smt Gangamma.