For 16 years, the family of missing Indian Army’s Lance Naik Amrish Tyagi did not perform his last rites and shraadh (ceremony performed in honour of a dead ancestor) in the hope that he will return home one day. Tyagi and three other soldiers went missing after an accident while they were returning from an expedition at a mountain peak above Joshimath on September 23, 2005.
Coincidentally, his body was discovered by the army exactly 16 years later on September 23, 2021, in Harshil sector of Uttarakhand and handed over to his family.
His family cremated the body on Tuesday at his village Hisali in Ghaziabad’s Muradnagar.
Hisali village is located about nine kilometres from the district headquarters in Ghaziabad.
“He was about 26 years old when he went missing during the expedition. The bodies of three of his colleagues were found soon after. A couple of days ago, some officials came home and told us that they recovered his body in the snow in the Harshil sector. He was identified with the help of documents found on the body,” said Vinesh Tyagi, Amrish Tyagi’s brother.
Amrish Tyagi was the youngest of four brothers and a sister and got married about one-and-a-half years before he met with the accident. His wife was pregnant when he went missing.
“All these years we did not lose hope and did not perform any last rites. We did not even perform his shraadh, hoping that he was alive. But now, having received his body, we are content that his soul will rest in peace. His wife gave birth to a daughter about five months after the incident. When he did not return, her parents got her remarried about a year later,” Vinesh Tyagi added.
Amrish Tyagi served with the army ordnance corps.
“He was an avid mountaineer and was returning from an expedition from a peak above Joshimath. While climbing down, all four personnel met with an accident and fell into a deep trench. Three bodies were recovered. On Tuesday, senior officers from the Babugarh cantonment arrived for his cremation while soldiers from the Bihar regiment brought his body from Uttarakhand,” said Colonel Devender Tyagi, a resident of Hisali.
“His father is no more but he served the Indian Army as Naib Subedar and, like him, Amrish too joined the army to serve the country… Ours is a small village with a population of about 1200 but many people here have served and serving the defence forces,” Colonel Tyagi added.
Hundreds of young men and locals from Hisali and neighbouring villages joined the procession as an army truck brought Amrish Tyagi’s body to his village.
His cremation was performed later in the day by two of his nephews.
“His daughter and his wife also arrived home on Tuesday and all were in tears. We are still on good terms with the family into which she remarried. Our mother passed away about four years ago in the hope that she will be able to see Amrish again. She used to be anxious in case someone arrived at the door and would think that her son had returned. She even started resisting the idea of any child from our family wanting to join the army. She was so upset that her son had not returned all these years,” Vinesh Tyagi said.
“My brother was a lively man and popular among his friends. They all attended his cremation on Tuesday,” he added.
Aditya Prajapati, sub-divisional magistrate of Modinagar, was also present during the cremation on Tuesday.
“The cremation was performed with full military honours after the body arrived at Hisali village. His body was discovered exactly 16 years after he went missing following the accident,” Prajapati said.
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