For some he was a gentleman, for others he was officer with difference. For everybody he was a brave soldier.
The death of Colonel J P Janu in an encounter with Lashkar-e-Tayiba militants in Kashmir has come as big shock to the people of Orissa. Many considered him a messiah, who was in the forefront of rescue and relief operations when the super-cyclone struck in 1999.
Col Janu, as a commanding officer of the 120 Infantry Battalion (Territorial
Army), Bihar Regiment, headquartered in Orissa, was a popular and respected man in Bhubaneswar.
"I was shocked to know that Col Janu is no more," said R K Sahoo, a doctor who knew him.
The mood in the premises of the Battalion tells a story of sadness and sorrow. Everyone is worried about his wife Pushpa, daughter Priyanka and son Sonu. "In two years, he befriended a lot of people, won several hearts and saved many lives," said a jawan.
When Orissa was hit by the super-cyclone, Bhubaneswar was totally ravaged. It was Col Janu who come out of his campus and helped people on the streets. He commanded thousands of troops in virtually pitch-dark streets monitoring clearing of roads and restoration work.
For many youngsters he was a source of inspiration to join the Territorial Army. He also encouraged them to participate during the Kargil conflict. He raised a 200-member youth contingent who volunteered to fight at the border.
Even the golf lovers in the state capital will miss him. Col Janu was a regular at the sprawling golf course in the 120 Infantry Battalion premises. That it now attracts
golfers from various corners of the state and outside is undoubtedly due to Col Janu.
"Why don't you guys come for a game of golf," he used to tell everyone, including journalists, with whom he had established close relationship.
The deputy resident editor of The New Indian Express in
Bhubaneswar, Srimoy Kar said that it because of Col Janu's efforts that the paper raised money for a former army jawan, who was handicapped during a battle in the Siachen Glacier. "I remember Col Janu handed over the money to the jawan and honoured him for his sacrifice," he said.
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