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PHOTOS: Grief, anger unite families of CRPF jawans across nation

Last updated on: February 16, 2019 00:06 IST

From Harpur in Uttar Pradesh to Gudigere in Karnataka, many villages across the country that send out young men to the armed forces were joined in grief Friday, a day after the suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Kashmir.

At many places, grief combined with anger over Thursday's terror strike that killed 41 jawans.

Bonomala Santra, 70, mother of Bablu Santra, at Bauria village in Howrah district in West Bengal. Photograph: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

"No doubt we are proud that my son gave his life for the motherland but the government should take tough steps against the attackers,” Pankaj Tripathi's father Om Prakash Tripathi said in Harpur in UP’s Maharajganj district.

 

"The time for talking is up, it’s time to take revenge," he said.

On the streets, villagers shouted slogans, calling for revenge. 'Badla lo, badla lo, Pakistan se badla lo', they chanted.

IMAGE: Family members mourn the death of CRPF jawan Pankaj Tripathi at their residence in Maharajganj, UP. Photograph: PTI Photo

Tempers also ran high in Deoria's Jaidev Chapia, the native village of 30-year-old Vijay Kumar Maurya.

He left for Jammu only on February 9, after spending time in the UP village with his family which includes a one and half year old child.

IMAGE: Family members of CRPF jawan Ratan Thakur at their residence in Bhagalpur, Bihar. Photograph: PTI Photo

"I am proud that my son gave his life for the nation but the government should give a befitting reply to Pakistan as soon as possible,” his father Ramayan Maurya said.

"The action should be so strong that Pakistan dare not enter our territory and kill our soldiers ever again,” he said.

In jawan Bablu Santra's Chakkashi Rajbangshipara village in West Bengal, his wife and mother wailed and his nephew talked of revenge.

IMAGE:: Family members of CRPF jawan Kaushal Kumar Rawat at his residence in Agra. Photograph: PTI Photo

"We want the killing of ‘mama', and those who died with him, avenged. Those behind the cowardly attack must be taught a lesson they don't forget,” Raghubir Mondal said.

When Santra came home on leave a month-and-a-half ago, he had urged the nephew to prepare for the test which could land him a job in the Central Reserve Police Force.

Mondal said his uncle was a hard-working man, who lost his father at a young age. As a college student, he supported his family by selling fish.

At Khudawal village in Madhya Pradesh's Jabalpur district Ashwini Kumar Kachhhi is remembered by some for his smile.

IMAGE: Family of CRPF personnel Jaimal Singh in Moga, Punjab. Photograph: ANI

"Martyr Ashwini Kumar always wore a smile on his face whenever he met me," recalled Vinay Asathi. "He used to encourage the youth of our village to join the armed forces."

Over the years, the village has lost three men who became soldiers.

CRPF jawan Bhagirath Singh and his brother were raised by their farmer father Parshuram in Rajasthan's Jaitpur village after their mother died.

IMAGE: Family and relatives of CRPF personnel Ramesh Yadav at his home in Varanasi. Photograph: ANI

He loved guns, village sarpanch Kapur Chand Gurjar recalled.

In a village in Punjab's Tarn Taran, Sukhjinder Singh also was fond of the uniform.

"He was very patriotic. Since childhood, he wanted to join the armed forces,” said panchayat member Angrez Singh.

"The entire village is in shock and disbelief and there is anger among the people,” he said.

IMAGE: Family members of CRPF jawan Sukhjinder Singh, at his residence of Gandiwind Dhattal village in Patti sub-division of Tarn Taran district, Punjab. Photograph: PTI Photo

Also from Punjab was Jaimal Singh, said to be the soldier who drove the bus into which a terrorist rammed an SUV packed with explosives.

The jawan had spoken to his wife and five-year-old son over the phone only on Tuesday, his father Jaswant Singh said.

H Guru from Gudigere village in Karnataka's Mandya district too had called home just hours before the attack.

"I should have spoken to him over phone. He had called me in the morning, but I couldn't speak to him. I really feel devastated,” his wife Kalavathi said.

Guru was among the jawans who had returned to their unit only days back.

IMAGE: Bereaved family members of CRPF martyr Ram Vakil at their residence in Mainpuri, UP. Photograph: PTI Photo

Tilak Raj from Jawali in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra went back to work on Monday, after celebrating the birth of his son last month.

Pankaj Tripathi left Harpur three days ago, wrapping up a two-month vacation with his wife Rohini and a three-year-old son.

On Friday, the family awaited his return -- this time it would be in a coffin wrapped in the tricolour.

Families of Rohitash Lamba, Bhagirath Singh and Hemraj Meena in Rajasthan recalled their passion and love for the country as they grieved the demise of their loved ones.

IMAGE: Bereaved family members and relatives of CRPF martyr Amit Kumar, at his residence in Shamli. Photograph: PTI Photo

Barely two months ago, Lamba had expressed his joy on becoming a father on the social media.

He rejoined duty on February 12 after spending several days with his family, including his two-month-old son.

A pall of gloom descended at Govindpura Basadi village near Shahpura, around 65 km from Jaipur, as the news of Lamba's death reached.

Former deputy speaker of Rajasthan Assembly and former Shahpura legislator Rao Rajendra Singh met Lamba's family members on Friday and expressed his condolences.

He said that Lamba's wife fell unconscious on hearing the tragic news and had to be hospitalised.

The family of 27-year-old Bhagirath Singh, a resident of Jaitpur village in Dholpur district, was struggling to come to terms with the loss.

WATCH: In Unnao, grief descends on family of slain CRPF jawan Ajit Azad

On Friday, the entire village of Jaitpur mourned the death of the young man.

"We never knew that he would leave us so early. He had promised his father and family to return soon two days ago but they had never imagined that it would be his last visit home," Jaitpur sarpanch Kapur Chand Gurjar said.

He said that Singh's mother had passed away when he was a kid. His father Parshuram, a farmer, brought up his two sons alone. Singh joined CRPF four years ago, whereas his younger brother Balveer joined Uttar Pradesh Police.

Singh got married Ranjna four years ago and has three-year-old son Vinay and a-year-and-a-half-old daughter Shivangi.

Hemraj Meena's wife Madhu received a call from the CRPF camp in Jammu around 10 pm Thursday, informing her about his demise.

Soon after the news reached the area, villagers came out their homes and gathered outside Meena's home to pay their tributes.

Kota-Bundi MP Om Birla, local MLA Bharat Singh, former MP Ijayraj Singh, former MLA Bhawani Singh Rajawat and several other dignitaries and administrative officials reached Meena's home and consoled the wailing family.

WATCH: Pakistan must be given befitting reply: Slain soldier's father

Hemraj Meena, the only government servant among four brothers and one sister, had been full of love for the country and patriotism since his early days, his elder brother, who runs a tea stall in the village, said.

Hemraj Meena is survived of four children -- two daughters and two sons.

"The perpetrators must be punished for killing my father, our jawans, even if it means carrying out surgical strikes across the border," demanded the daughter of CRPF Head Constable Maneswar Basumatari in in Kalabari village in Assam's Baksa district.

Basumatari, the head constable CRPF 98 Battalion is survived by his daughter, Didmaswari, wife, Sunmati, and son.

"We want justice. Give a befitting reply to the cowards responsible for the Pulwama attack," said an inconsolable Didmaswari on Friday.

Talking to reporters at the family's residence, she also demanded that the government should look after the family now.

Basumatari had recently visited home, said the slain head constable's wife with tears running down her face.

She was unable to talk further.

The distraught family of Sudip Biswas, another victim of the Pulwama terrorist attack from West Bengal, waited for his mortal remains to arrive home.

Sudip, a 27-year-old, from Nadia district of West Bengal, had joined the CRPF as a jawan in 2014.

"The body will come to Kolkata by flight via Delhi, a CRPF officer told me around 3:15 pm today. The body is in Jammu airport now. I think it will reach here tomorrow," Samapta Biswas, Sudip's brother-in-law, said.

Sudip had called up his father on Thursday to enquire about his health.

Around 24 hours later, his family received a phone call enquiring about the distinguishing marks on his body.

Around 9 am, the caller informed Samapta about the terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy at Pulwama.

"He asked me if there was any ring on Sudip's finger. I said no. He asked me where are the moles on his body. I informed him and the line got disconnected. Soon after, the man rang up again and said Sudip is no more," Samapta said.

Sudip's had last talked to his father Sanyashi, an agricultural labour, on Thursday morning when he was working in the field.

IMAGE: Family of CRPF personnel Maninder Singh mourns his death in Gurdaspur. Photograph: ANI

"He asked me to complete the work quickly and return home. He enquired about my health.... There were talks about his marriage. He had said the house needed to be renovated first," Sanyashi Biswas said.

The wails of Sudip's mother Mamata and sister Tumpa, Samapta's wife were the only sounds in an otherwise quiet house at Hanspukuria under Tehatta police station area.

"Toton (Sudip's nickname) had talked with a neighbour shortly after 3 pm yesterday. Later my sister's son told me his phone was switched off. He also informed me about the..." and she stopped mid-sentence as neighbours and relatives tried in vain to console her and her daughter.

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