CRPF man in hospital for 30 months, mother asks: Where is uproar?

Long and traumatic road to recovery for 28-year-old constable Jitender Kumar who was severely injured in a blast in Bastar while on election duty in 2014.

Written by Aditi Vatsa , Dipankar Ghose | Noida/raipur | Published:November 1, 2016 3:55 am
CRPF, CRPF jawan, Maoists, Maoists Bastar, Maoists CRPF, Jitendra Kumar, Prakash Hospital noida, india news Rupa Devi, her son in Prakash Hospital, Noida. (Source: Express photo by Prem Nath Pandey)

ON FRIDAY evening, as festival lights brighten the street outside Prakash Hospital in Noida, Rupa Devi clasps her son Jitendra Kumar’s hand. As the tears begin to fall, the two CRPF constables sitting next to her — Jugal Kishore and Gurudev — tell her softly, “Your son has braved death and look how he is responding now.”

Kishore then waves his hand near Kumar’s face, which is turned towards a corner of the room, and snaps his fingers. The 28-year-old patient’s half-open eyes blink and his lips quiver. In this first-floor room, even a flicker counts as progress.

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Six years ago, when Kumar told his mother that he had cleared the first round of physical examinations for joining the CRPF, Devi had tried to discourage him. “But I could not stop him. He told me that he was going to serve and protect the nation,” she says.

In 2013, Kumar, in his first posting as a constable with the 80th battalion, was sent to Bastar, the ground zero of a deadly war between security forces and Maoists. On April 12, 2014, he was in an ambulance that was blown apart by an improvised explosive device — the blast killed five personnel and two medical attendants. Kumar slipped into a coma. Ever since — two years and six months — Devi and the two constables on duty have been waiting for him to wake up.

There is hope. With a gradual improvement in his medical condition, Kumar was taken off the ventilator two months ago. “He is not in coma any more though he is in a state of altered consciousness,” says Dr V S Solanki at Prakash Hospital.

But there is despair, too. “The problem we are expecting is in the movement of limbs. At the time of admission, he was in a state of deep vein thrombosis due to the nature of his wounds — on the spine and head. In order to address this, physiotherapy sessions are being given to him. At present, he is able to move on his four limbs,” says Dr Solanki.

Kumar was the primary breadwinner of his family, also including his father, who works as a daily wage labourer at Muzaffarpur district’s Dubha village in Bihar, and two younger siblings.

Months after the blast, his parents moved to a hospital in Raipur and then Noida. His sister managed to complete her graduate degree from a college in Samastipur, Bihar, but his younger brother dropped out of school.

“For the last 30 months, our home is limited to the four walls of a hospital room. How can we leave our son alone?
My husband and I used to shuttle between Bihar and Raipur, and now Noida. We cannot leave any of our three children alone,” says Devi. A few days ago, Kumar’s father went to his village but Devi wanted to stay by Kumar’s side for the festival week.

“I keep a fast on Chhath here and my husband performs all the rituals on those days in Bihar. For the last two years, I have only been praying and making vows to the gods for my son’s health,” says Devi.

“When a CRPF jawan suffers this fate, not a single voice is raised. They also protect the country and its people, and there is a mother that has given birth to them. Where is the uproar?” she asks.

According to Dr Solanki, Kumar has “tremendous support” from the hospital, his family and the CRPF, which has posted two personnel with him.

R D Jeany Anal, commandant of the 80th battalion, says Kumar’s colleagues “are praying for him, and wishing with all our strength that he recovers, and is with us again”.

Narrating the turn of events on the day of the blast, the senior officer says, “The men were providing safe passage to election staff and other paramilitary personnel deployed for the last phase of the general elections in 2014. They were tasked with clearing the road between Jheeram ghati and Darbha on National Highway 30, which had witnessed a deadly ambush on the Congress parivartan yatra in 2013 (when 28 people, including most of the party’s leadership in Chhattisgarh were killed).”

According to Anal, the troops were in the process of withdrawing when the blast occurred. “One personnel who was not feeling well due to the heat had to take a lift on one of the ambulances along with nine others. The ambulance
had travelled only 300 metres when it came into contact with an IED. The blast ripped the ambulance apart. Apart from those killed, five others were severely injured. They were evacuated to Jagdalpur and taken to Raipur for better treatment,” he says.

CRPF officials say Kumar has been given the best possible medical treatment. “The force has paid for the treatment at all times, and we have been ensuring that his salary continues to be deposited on time. Two constables have also
been posted with him round the clock,” says an official.

According to Dr Solanki, Kumar was admitted in January with multiple injuries on his head, spine, chest, abdomen and lower limbs. “He was critically ill and in deep coma. He underwent several operations of the brain, abdomen and chest. A tracheotomy (hole in the wind pipe to facilitate breathing) and a feeding tube gastrostomy were performed and the patient was on ventilator for months. The injuries have healed and now he responds to painful sensations and loud commands. Injuries and a deep vein blockage of limbs have been resolved, and general health has improved,” says Solanki.

“The ENT surgeon expects Kumar to be able to speak normally soon. Soon, the feeding tube will be removed and we will be able to feed him through the mouth,” says Solanki.

Meanwhile, it’s the same traumatic routine, every day, in that hospital room. Every morning, after the physiotherapy session, the two constables lift and move Kumar around as much as possible. Gurudev, the other CRPF man on duty, tells the grieving mother: “It might take time but we know that he will be walking and running on his feet very soon.”

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  1. M
    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:40 am
    Get well soon
    1. A
      Oct 31, 2016 at 11:04 am
      All our prayers are with you, young man. Get well soon. Our country needs brave ones like you..
      1. A
        Oct 31, 2016 at 4:45 am
        We give briyani to all the powerful antinational but our NHRC semi intellectuals donot raise their voice........Mere Bharath Masharan...Humanright activists.......
        1. A
          Ashwini Kumar
          Oct 31, 2016 at 11:50 am
          Get well soon.. Many thanks to the Indian Express team for bringing out this issue. The injured need as much attention of the people as the deceased.
          1. C
            Nov 1, 2016 at 1:41 am
            may god bless him.pray for a quick recovery.we should never forget such brave jawans also who have survived the;br/gt;thank you indian express,please continue with such stories and cases and also ensure such people are not relegated to back pages.
            1. I
              Oct 31, 2016 at 8:54 am
              Please pay your tax on time for the government to run the country. We can all do little in our own way.
              1. D
                Oct 31, 2016 at 1:45 am
                Yep dear mother, his story will not gain anything to congress or its slaves or to the liberals. He wanted to serve the nation hence there is not uproar for his life. If he had shouted "Bharat tere tukde honge" then there would have been all the support, all the award wapasi's all the demonstrations and donations.. Remember the last word, "Donations" that is the key to all these;br/gt;Unfortunately O kalankini, your son wanted to serve the nation. He is one of the many that these reputed, influential people meet;br/gt;Do not wait for any support, prepare for his chita because if it is in their capacity, they will make sure he is sacrificed and then they will roast roti's on his chita to earn brownie points in the name of his caste or his religion. that is what will get them those "Donations" that they so keenly seek
                1. A
                  Oct 31, 2016 at 3:55 am
                  Maoists are also Indian Brothers .......................... why have they taken arms for 5 decades???? this needs to be resolved. Just like Jitendra there are Maoists who have mothers and fathers and family members. Nobody likes their sons killed. Indian govt. should solve the CAUSE of the problem not the effects.
                  1. S
                    Oct 31, 2016 at 9:45 am
                    There is no uproar , because 99% of Indians don't give a dam about our;br/gt;Just like the Prime Minister ,They are only eager to perform a pretentious drama of patriotism .lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;2 days after he won the election , on Sunday May 18 2016 , stan violated the ceasefire at Akhnoor. Sepoy Bhikale Uttam Balu of 2 Maratha Light Infantry along with others tried to rescue a brother-in-arms ,Vinod Kumar,who was injured in a landmine;br/gt;The landmine was planted by terrorists who ran towards a stani post when Indian troops fired at them. stani troops opened fire and wounded three Indian soldiers. One of them, Sepoy Bhikale Uttam Balu, later;br/gt;lt;br/gt;What did modi do , did he condemn that incident or sympathize with the martyred Jawan ? Nope , he invited nawaz sharif to attend his coronation ceremony and the w mainstream media was giddily praising his decision . lt;br/gt;Did anyone remember Sepoy Bhikale Uttam Balu's sacrifice ?
                    1. G
                      Oct 31, 2016 at 4:14 am
                      The question should be asked to the editors of this paper and it's left wing anti-Indian columnists. Try to hang a convicted terrorist or a rapist killer and a he media goes into an uproar. The Supreme Court suddenly find time to hear the case over and over, looking for a way to protect the criminal. A brave son lies injured and the media and the JNU professors care not one bit.
                      1. S
                        Oct 31, 2016 at 2:53 am
                        thank you indian express for this story... look i often criticize u for ur reporting but look it is not based on hatred but fcts... to today u have written a great news... pain of these men and families helping me it to sit here and write... india as a nation has to wake up and care for these soldiers
                        1. J
                          Jagjeet singh
                          Oct 31, 2016 at 2:42 pm
                          Prayer for him
                          1. J
                            Oct 31, 2016 at 2:40 am
                            Does anyone know the telephone number of his mother.
                            1. J
                              Joseph R Stephen
                              Oct 31, 2016 at 4:13 am
                              We Indians are cheap. Ony when Votes are seen our great show leaders will visit;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Now that media has highlighted , wait and see all our fake leaders with best designer dress will show up.
                              1. K
                                Nov 2, 2016 at 9:45 am
                                all pot bellied illeterate so called self styled leaders have no concern about a jawan life or his family as rightly said by a bihari leader that fauzi tho kaam maarana hai i yeh naukri kyon karte hain aur govt tankha deethi is kaam ke liyalt;br/gt;all these are third rated country men aur s of our parlia,ment lt;br/gt;bus khandaan ko satta mein bithana hai all parties nothing else lt;br/gt;sorry to say we have another PM known as feku just fools the mes and political underhand dealings with them lt;br/gt;ghoomtey rahoo and media uske saath hailt;br/gt;poor innocent countrymen bless our soulslt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;shame on these political leaders
                                1. M
                                  Oct 31, 2016 at 2:37 am
                                  Grateful to Ind. Express for this detailed report. Our people should understand how the lives of loyal and hardworking Indians are undermined by these extremists and their authoritarian politics.
                                  1. M
                                    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:30 am
                                    What was the media doing for the last 2 years? Why was this not highlighted earlier?
                                    1. M
                                      Oct 31, 2016 at 7:55 am
                                      Not in blame game....pathetic to know about his condition....we all must unite and pray for them....Naxalism is the result of mismanagement of power and underdevelopment which is the creation of our politicians and our solders are paying the price ....may Allah save these heros ...we salute you.........
                                      1. N
                                        Oct 31, 2016 at 8:29 am
                                        Get well soon brave Jawan, we are safe because of your sacrifices, All CAPF deserves equal respect as our Army , Navy and IAF . Jai Hind.
                                        1. P
                                          Oct 31, 2016 at 5:44 pm
                                          This nation is indebted to the sacrifices of capf personnel as the number of capf killed on duty is quite more than army. When it comes to any contingency may be it a militant attack, law and order problem, natural calamity or elections the only name which comes to our mind is of a khaki clad CRPF man. He performs more than an army personnel but paid less than a police man. This discrimination needs to be answered by the govt. He is prompt to the directions of govt but why the govt has kept its eyes blind folded. To your surprise the 7th pay commission has labeled capf people as civilians. If they are civilians then why they are being tasked for military duties. OK... He is ready for these duties then why pensionery benefits are not applicable to him. Isn't it a Discrimination?? Why compensation to the next of kin of a olive green soldier is more than that of a khaki wearing soldier. BSF and army performing same duties at one border are being paid differently..... Why this discrimination... Shame on people responsible for this
                                          1. P
                                            PN Rao
                                            Oct 31, 2016 at 2:21 am
                                            It is more than 2 years BJP is in power. Yet instead of helping this brave son of India by providing better medical facilities either at Delhi or at some other place these BJP/RSS menials blame others for the present state. Have I voted for a dishonest and unscrupulous party?
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