Dad's last words
Thu, Apr 8 12:15 PM
'Take care of my kids I am going to die' her father CRPF Jawan Ali Hassan said in his last call to his wife as Naxal bullets rained on him.
CRPF man called wife as firing was going on. "I am in a Chhattisgarh forest, surrounded by Naxalites. They are firing at us from all sides. I'm not sure I'll survive." These were the words that Tasmin Khatun got to hear when she picked up the telephone at 8 am on Tuesday.
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The voice at the other end was that of her 38-year-old husband, Ali Hassan. Even before Tasmin could grasp the gravity of the situation, Hassan disconnected his mobile phone, his brother-in-law Rashid recalled.
Hassan called her up again at 5 pm the same day and said: "I have sustained two bullet injuries. My colleagues are taking me to hospital. Please don't worry about me. I want you to ensure that the children are happy. You must raise them well." Head constable Hassan was among the 120 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel of the 62nd battalion who were ambushed by over 1,000 Naxalites in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada area on Tuesday. More than 80 securitymen were killed in the attack. Hassan, too, succumbed to his bullet wounds.
"I knew that something was grossly wrong. But I didn't realise that his life was ebbing away even as he was talking to me about our three daughters," a dazed Tasmin recounted. She is still in a state of shock. A resident of Khatauli village in Shahpur block of Muzaffarnagar, Hassan was in abject poverty when he got a CRPF constable's job in 1991.
After being posted at Rampur initially, he was promoted as head constable and sent to Chhattisgarh for anti-Naxalite combat operations.
Hassan's elder brother Taj Mohammad, who left for New Delhi on Wednesday morning to receive his body, said: "He was a brave man. The villagers knew him as a troubleshooter. Whenever anyone had a problem, he was the first man to come forward and help."
"Hassan was the sole breadwinner. We are left with a small piece of land to feed a family of 12 persons, including his family," Sulaiman, the slain head constable's father, said. "I am waiting for the nation to reciprocate," he added.
"Even local kids knew that the area where the jawans had been asked to move was full of landmines.
The government put our children in danger, well aware that their survival was at risk," he said. Head constable Shyamlal (35) of Burjiwala village in Rampur also fell prey to Maoists in the Tuesday attack. Shyamlal had joined the CRPF 10 years ago and he, too, was the only earning member of the family. He was promoted four years back. "He called my mother at 2 am on Tuesday and informed her that he as well as many of his colleagues were trapped in the forest.
He said the Naxalites were equipped with more sophisticated arms," Naresh, the 11-year-old son of Shyamlal, said. Shyamlal's wife Veer Vati has been unconscious ever since she got the news of her husband's death. Besides Naresh, they have three younger daughters. They don't have any means to survive.
Naresh may be too young to come to grips with reality, but he said: "I am proud of my father and would like to join the CRPF and fight with the Naxalites." Uttar Pradesh's additional director general of police Brijlal said 42 jawans from UP and seven from Uttarakhand were killed in the Naxalite attack. "All of them were from poor backgrounds. They were from the 62nd battalion of the CRPF and were deployed in Chhattisgarh last year. Their bodies were brought Lucknow on Wednesday," he said.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2010. MTNPL. All rights reserved.