Close friends of Central Reserve Police Force Head Constable (CRPF) Sunil Kale (41), who was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Pulwama early Tuesday, remember him as someone who was deeply attached to his roots and a farmer at heart.
Kale, who hailed from Pangaon village in Barshi taluka of Solapur district, was killed in a gunfight in a joint anti-terror operation of CRPF, the Army and Jammu and Kashmir Police, in Pulwama’s Bundzoo area in the early hours of Tuesday. Two terrorists were killed in the operation, and arms and ammunition were also seized.
Kale belonged to a farmer family and is survived by his mother Kusum (65), wife Archana (35), sons Piyush (13) and Amosh (10), two brothers Nandkumar (45) and Kiran (38), and sister Madhumati (48). After completing his education in Pangaon and Barshi, Kale had joined the CRPF in 2000, and was deployed with the 182 Battalion of the force in the Counter Terrorism Tactics (CTT) team.
Speaking to The Indian Express from his village, Kale’s childhood friend Sachin Kapse, who is an ex-serviceman from the Indian Army, said, “We all remember him as someone who loved farming and cared for everyone. Whenever he got a chance to talk to us over the phone, he used to ask about our farms, and talk at length about it… what has been sowed, what methods to use etc. He was very connected to his roots. Our village has had over 50 soldiers since the 1965 war… the entire village is grieving with his family. We do not know how to console them at this time. We have lost a caring friend.”
Laxman Naikwadi, another friend of Kale’s, said, “He was to retire from the CRPF two years ago, but he got his tenure extended. While he had recievd his transfer order, he stayed put in Pulwama because of the lockdown. The family had built a new house in Barshi recently but Sunil didn’t live to see the day when all of them lived there together. He had last visited the family in January, and last spoken to them around 9 pm on Monday.”
A tweet from the Kashmir Ops Sector of the CRPF read, “In a joint operation at Pulwama by 182 Battalion CRPF, 55 Rashtriya Rifles of Indian Army and Special Operation Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, two militants were neutralised by the security forces. Showing indomitable courage and extraordinary valour, Shaheed Head Constable Sunil Kale of 182 Battalion CRPF CTT team made the supreme sacrifice of his life while neutralising two terrorists.”