By Tsering Choephel
DHARAMSALA, 05 Sept: “Shaheed Sepoy Kalsang Dojree Road,” in honour and memory of the late Special Frontier Force (SFF) Tibetan army soldier Kalsang Dorjee, was inaugurated at Bir Tibetan Settlement in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday, coinciding with Tibetan Democracy Day.
Shri Kishori Lal, an MLA of Baijnath town and Chief Parliamentary Secretary, was invited to the event as the chief guest, with Tibetans from the settlement gathered in attendance. A concrete gate structure, decorated with eight auspicious signs on two columns and bearing the new road name “Shaheed Sepoy Kalsang Dojree Road” at the top, was officially opened.
Kalsang Dorjee, a Tibetan from Bir Tibetan Settlement who served in Bravo Company, 3 Vikas of SFF, was killed on duty during an operation at Point 4438 on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sub Sector Battalik, “OP RAKSHAK,” in Jammu and Kashmir on October 12, 2003. He was only 23 years old.
MLA Kishori Lal, addressing the gathering at the event, underscored the deep bond between the Indian and Tibetan communities, emphasizing the spirit of brotherhood that unites them, as reported by Phayul.
Choephel, a former SFF member currently serving in the Tibetan Security office, is one of the key individuals involved in this memorial project. Speaking to a local Tibetan YouTuber, he discussed the significance of the project, saying, “I thought that by highlighting his name and sacrifice, it would not only raise the prestige of our SFF but also make a positive difference in the local Indians’ view of Tibetans.”
The late Kalsang Dorjee’s mother, Tsewang Bhuti, financed the construction of the gate, and the project was carried out by the Bir Tibetan Society and Bir Local Tibetan Assembly.
SFF, or Establishment-22, was established in 1962 when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China made a surprise offensive attack across the Indian border into Arunachal Pradesh and pushed all the way to Tezpur, Assam. Although the SFF was initially set up in collaboration between Indian RAW, CIA, and Tibetans with the goal of fighting the Chinese, the SFF has served several important Indian missions since its inception.
Many Tibetan SFF soldiers have been killed in action while serving in the Indian army during various operations. The SFF played a critical role in India’s victory during the Bangladesh War. Code-named ‘Operation Eagle,’ the guerrilla-trained Tibetan soldiers secured the Chittagong hills and intercepted the fleeing Pakistan generals into Myanmar. The SFF was also involved in securing the Siachen Glacier during the 1984 Operation Meghdoot and Operation Vijay during the Kargil War in 1999.
Nyima Tenzin, 53, serving as a company leader in the SFF, was killed when a landmine exploded near the border site with Chinese troops in 2020.