Major Mahesh Karki and Capt Amit Kumar, both residents of Uttarakhand, were on leave when the tragedy struck the state and they could not hold themselves back. Karki, of the Gorkha Rifles, was on leave in his native state when the floods hit on June 15. He was driving from Dehradun to Badrinath with his wife, two kids and mother-in-law in his vehicle when they got caught in heavy rains at Karnaprayag.
They still went ahead and reached Joshimath the next evening, where, they found the road had collapsed and were told to turn back, a defence spokesman said here. "The officer had two choices. Either he could return and drive himself and his family to the safety or do something for the 25 people who were struck on the other side of the road," the spokesman said.
The sense of serving the nation took him over and he asked his wife to wait with the rest of the family as he went ahead to save the stranded people, he said. "I just could not hold myself back," Karki was quoted as saying by the spokesman.
The young officer braved the ravaged stretch and drove his SUV to fetch the stranded people, four at a time, as carrying more in such bad weather was risky. He brought all of them to safety at a point near Govindghat from where the Army took over.
Another officer, Capt Kumar of 14 Garhwal, volunteered for rescue mission after the tragedy struck. After taking permission from his Commanding Officer, he flew to Kedarnath in an Air Force helicopter on June 21 and went to rescue people stranded at Kedarnath. He could have easily be in the comfort of his home and enjoyed his leave.
However, he not only sacrificed his leave but went beyond the call of duty to serve, the spokesman said. Kumar saved lives, provided comfort and more importantly, extended moral support to those in need.
On completion of the rescue mission at Kedarnath, he did not take respite and flew to Gaurikund where he is restlessly working to save lives. "I am a soldier working in Kashmir. This act of mine is dedicated to Uttarakhand on behalf of Kashmir," the officer said over phone.