Three security personnel lost their lives and eight were injured in Bihar’s Aurangabad district on Monday, it has emerged, because they tried to defuse a bomb believed to be planted by Maoists with their bare hands while they were on a combing operation and did not wait for a bomb disposal squad.
The aftermath of the incident has snowballed into a controversy as TV channels showed one of those injured in the blast in Dhimra, 39-year-old constable Dilip Kumar, pleading for medical help and then wrongly reported that he had subsequently died.
Turns out Kumar and his injured colleagues had to wait for a helicopter to arrive from Jharkhand and evacuate them from Aurangabad to an advanced care hospital in Ranchi four hours after the incident as Bihar, one of the states worst affected by Maoist extremism, apparently does not have a helicopter base.
Kumar was part of a 11-member team of CRPF and Bihar Police personnel who were on a combing operation in Dhimra when they detected a bomb suspected to be planted by Maoists between Banua Mod and Baranda village. The bomb exploded when they tried to defuse it on their own, killing Pawan Dahia, T Punnarao and Inderjit Singh and injuring the rest.
The men were rushed to the Aurangabad district hospital in a private bus as there was no ambulance available, officials said. In a video shot by a local TV journalist at the hospital, Kumar is shown pleading for help.
“I am lying here for the last two hours. There are no doctors here. Please save me or otherwise I will die. I have small kids. I appeal to the PM, President of India to please save me. I am appealing to my DGP, please help me out and save my life,” Kumar said in the clip.
The chopper that had been asked for landed in Gaya first and then came to Aurangabad and airlifted the injured to Ranchi around 5 pm.
“Soon after he was shifted to a private hospital in Ranchi…he was operated upon. There are splinters in his abdomen, which could not be removed and he continues to be in a critical condition,” said Zulfiquar Hasan, CRPF’s IG, operations.
“We had a tough time convincing his wife who lives in Hazaribagh as she believed the television reports about her husband’s death were true. His wife and 10-year-old son reached Ranchi today and were convinced only when they met him in hospital,” Hasan added.
CRPF DG Dilip Trivedi said a probe has started but added that there was no delay in providing medical help. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has also ordered an inquiry into the alleged delay in treating the injured personnel.