AS SHE watched the ashes of her father being immersed in the Ganga Sunday morning, Vaishnavi took a decision. She would give up her “lifelong dream” of becoming a doctor. Instead, the 21-year-old told herself, she would become a police officer, like her father DySP Devendra Kumar Mishra.
“I will send criminals like Vikas Dubey where they belong,” the B.Sc final-year student said, her eyes red with grief and anger. Her 18-year-old sister Vaishardi, a Class 12 student, wants to qualify for the Civil Services. “Together, we will fulfil the dreams he had for his two children,” she said.
Mishra (59) was among eight police personnel killed in Bikru village of Kanpur district Friday, when they were ambushed during a raid to capture gangster Dubey and his associates.
On Sunday, at his home in Kanpur’s Swaroop Nagar, beyond the anger and determination, there were questions, too: Who tipped off Dubey about their father arriving to catch him? Why was the power cut off to the village during the raid?
The family says Mishra had previously accused a subordinate officer of indiscipline and multiple irregularities. That officer, Vinay Tiwari, the SO of Chaubeypur police station under which Bikru falls, has been suspended and is being probed for his alleged links to Dubey.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Anant Deo, the former SSP of Kanpur who is now DIG in the Special Task Force, confirmed that Mishra had complained about the SO’s behaviour. “Such differences between seniors and juniors are common in almost every profession… I don’t think that had any direct connection to the incident,” he said.
But Mishra’s daughters are clear: they want a CBI probe.
“The entire department knew about my father’s bravery. He was involved in busting the Kalua gang. He started his career as a constable in the 1980s and after clearing the Sub-Inspector examination, reached the post of Deputy DP with out-of-turn promotions because of his good work. He was posted in districts like Unnao, Basti and Noida (Gautam Buddh Nagar),” said Vaishnavi.
“Even at the age of 59, we could see his enthusiasm for the job,” said Vaishardi.
“The last we saw him was two days before the incident. He was posted in a corona-affected area, and used to meet us either in the lobby or the open space outside. There were times when he used to cry about how he could not meet us properly,” said Vaishnavi.
On Saturday, the two daughters lit the pyre, as their mother Asha looked on.
“My father was against immorality and injustice, and that was the reason he joined the police. Little did we know that he would have to give his life for this, that too when he was just a few months from retirement. Every year, on Guru Purnima, we used to celebrate my birthday. Today is Guru Purnima, but he is not here… we don’t know how to live without him,” said Vaishardi, her voice breaking once again.
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