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Monday, April 12, 2021

Chhattisgarh Maoist attack: In Bijapur, a deafening silence

Of 22 personnel killed in the Maoist attack, CRPF lost eight men, including seven commandos of its elite CoBRA unit, and one of its Bastariya battalion personnel. The state forces lost eight District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel and six Special Task Force (STF) personnel.

Written by Gargi Verma | Bijapur |
Updated: April 6, 2021 2:54:56 am
At wreath laying ceremony in Bijapur, Monday. (Photo: Reuters)

On Sunday, Kishor Endrik (38) had saved three men and had got out of the line of fire when he found that his younger brother, Hemant, had not come out of the Maoist ambush. Part of a different team, Kishor, despite his injury, ran back to battle.

On Monday, Hemant, who had managed to escape, did the final rituals for his brother. Kishor was one of 22 men who fell to the Maoist ambush on Sukma Bijapur border in Chhattisgarh on Saturday.

Endrik got married in 2002 and was expecting his first child – his wife is four months pregnant. His nephew, Anand, said: “My uncle had wanted to be a father for years. He found out his wife was pregnant only last year. Before he could become a father, he died.”

Samaiyya Madvi, father of a nine-month-old son, had recently built a dream house for his family. A resident of Awapalli in Bijapur, the 27-year-old had been part of the first Bastariya battalion raised in 2017. A vocal leader and an astute scholar, he was one of the few in his family to have studied up to a Master’s degree.

“The house was built just two months ago. He had come for the ‘grihapravesh’ and returned after promising us that he would take a long leave to come and enjoy the house,” a relative said. “His mortal remains returned instead.”

Madvi’s friend, Dharmesh, recalled: “He wanted to study and thus went for an MA degree in History. While in college, he was president of several councils. He wanted to work for his community – when CRPF was raising a Bastariya battalion, he applied and was recruited.”

Madvi’s brothers are also with different security agencies based out of Bastar division.

Of 22 personnel killed in the Maoist attack, CRPF lost eight men, including seven commandos of its elite CoBRA unit, and one of its Bastariya battalion personnel. The state forces lost eight District Reserve Guard (DRG) personnel and six Special Task Force (STF) personnel.

While bodies of Madvi and another DRG personnel were retrieved on Saturday night and sent home on Sunday, bodies of the other 20 were sent home on Monday after two separate wreath-laying ceremonies – one in Bijapur for the six local DRG men and the other in Jagdalpur for the 14 men of STF and CRPF.

Narayan Sodi, a DRG head constable who died in the attack, had also promised to come home on leave soon, his family said. Three of his four brothers are also employed with district security forces and had gone on operations together in the past. “I am proud that my brother sacrificed his life for the country,” Bheema Sodi, his only brother who didn’t join the force, said.

STF constable Sukhsingh Faras, from Gariaband district, had become a father just four months ago. A favourite of his village – Mohada – Faras’s body was taken to his home on Monday, where his last rites were done by his family members later in the day. “He was friendly and very smart. Our village has lost its son,” a neighbour said.

Assistant Inspector Deepak Bhardwaj, a resident of Chhattisgarh’s Janjgir district, was son of a teacher. Known by villagers for his friendly spirit, he had married 15 months ago, relatives said. “We didn’t even get to see him one last time,” one relative said.

One was recently engaged, another left behind two kids

The Indian Express takes a look at some of the personnel killed in Maoist ambush.

Andhra Pradesh
Sakhamuri Murali Krishna: Hailing from Sattenapalli in Guntur district, the 32-year-old got engaged recently and was to get married on May 22, his father said.

Routhu Jagdish: A native of Gajularega in Vizianagaram district, Jagdish “took good care of the family”, his father said.

Assam
Bablu Rabha: A constable in the CoBRA unit, Rabha last met his family in November, but would speak to his wife and mother regularly over the phone.

Dilip Kumar Das: An inspector with the CoBRA unit, he had joined the force in 2001. He had visited his home for six days in March and then left for a three-month assignment.

Tripura
Shambhu Roy: A native of Bhagyapur, a remote village in North Tripura district, Roy had last visited his home in March and was to be married next year.

Uttar Pradesh
Dharamdev Kumar: A native of Tehkaha village in Chandauli, Dharamdev’s wife Meena Devi is six months pregnant and has two children.

Raj Kumar Yadav: Joining the force in 1995, the head constable is survived by his parents, wife and two children.

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