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Back from ‘Dead’, Jawan wants to Rejoin Army

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DEHRADUN: Dharamveer Singh, the soldier who “returned” from the dead a few days back, now wishes to serve the nation again by rejoining the Army. Singh who had been missing since 2009 after meeting with an accident while on duty in Dehradun was presumed dead in 2012 and his family has been receiving his pension since 2015. After suffering from memory loss for the last seven years, Singh, following another accident, finally remembered enough to find his way back home near Alwar from Haridwar on Friday.

Recollecting the fateful event, Singh told TOI, “It was around 11.30pm on November 27, 2009 when I along with two other jawans were driving back from the railway station that the accident happened. Somewhere on Chakrata road, I tried to avoid a head-on collision with another car and in doing so my vehicle went over a divider. I suffered injuries on my head and face and that’s the last thing I remember.”

Singh was on an attachment posting at Rashtriya Indian Military Academy (RIMC) in Dehradun and was serving with the rank of havildar at the time of the accident, although his unit, 66 Armoured Regiment, was in Panagarh, an Army base in West Bengal.
“I do not remember how I landed up in Haridwar. After the second accident there, when I was hit by a bike, I lost consciousness. When I woke up people asked me where I wanted to go and that’s when I remembered my home. Now my only wish is that if possible Army should give me another chance to serve my nation,” added Singh.

But it may not be easy for him to get back into the Army fatigues that he loved so much. For one, there’s his death certificate that is now recognized by the authorities. It has to be withdrawn. His pension, too, has to be stopped. There’s just too much paper work to be done. After all that, how does one, officially, explain the long years of absence? It’s a peculiar, unique case and officers accept as much.

Some feel that Singh might have a chance to be reinstated in the Army only if the authorities find that his absence was not “willful”. Col Harpal Singh, a retired doctor from Army Medical Corps (AMC) currently employed in Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) polyclinic, Dehradun, said, “I have not heard of such a case and his memory loss means that there is permanent damage to the brain, but the Army authorities will investigate if there was any ‘defiance of order’ and if the soldier sustained injuries because of which he was unable to report back to duty. Then, perhaps, based on merit he might be reinstated into the Army. However, the case is very complicated and if he does approach the Army for reinstatement a detailed technical investigation will be carried out.”

His family, meanwhile, has been trying to revive his memory — he doesn’t remember anything of what happened between 2009 and 2016 — by showing him family pictures and creating a happy atmosphere around him. His brother Ram Niwas, a doctor, said, “The doctors have advised us to take him for walks but not put too much pressure on him to remember. According to the doctors, my brother’s complete recovery depends on the extent of his injury.”