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‘My husband’s body too was riddled with bullets’

Families of EFR personnel killed in Silda attack say Kishenji’s death is justice done.

Written by Madhuparna Das | Jhargram |
November 27, 2011 1:11:05 am

About 45-50 kilometres from the forest in Jhargram where Kishenji was killed,a group of families are celebrating his death,saying they have finally got justice. They are the young widows and children of the 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) personnel who were killed in the Maoist attack in Silda on February 15,2010,which was reported to have been orchestrated by Kishenji.

The families,living in the EFR quarters in Salua,near Kharagpur,say that Kishenji got what he deserved. “Jaise karni,waise bharni (As you sow,so shall you reap),” said Sona Subba,widow of Madhukar Subba,a 45-year-old rifleman who was among those killed.

“We have not forgotten that February night when Kishenji’s men killed my father,” said Rishi,her 22-year-old son who is still waiting for the promised government job.

“Like Kishenji,my husband’s body was riddled with bullets too. He had injuries on his face,chest and leg. This has brought back the horror of my husband’s death,” said Padmini,widow of havildar Kanteshwar.

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She recounted how her two children,Biswajit and Meera,lost a year as they could not appear for the school final exam on February 16,2010,a day after their father was killed.

Binapani Rava,another widow,said: “Why this debate about a fake encounter? If he were alive,he would have killed more people.”

While they hail the government for Kishenji’s death,the grieving families are angry that it has not fulfilled its commitment towards them. Only six of the families have got government jobs. They have sent a letter to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,but “no reply has come so far”.

The government had undertaken to give the families full salaries for the victims’ remaining years of service. But Sona claimed that they are getting only half the amount. After paying the monthly rent for the quarters,they barely have enough to meet their needs,she added.

Meanwhile,there is a sense of relief in the surrounding villages. Ajit Mahato,a resident of Burisole village,near the area where Kishenji was killed,said: “It is likely that there will be less tension now. Maoist cadres used to roam our villages,with the police hot on their trail. At times,three or four police teams from different units would raid our village.”

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