The personal security guard of senior Congress leader VC Shukla had shot himself after he realised that he failed to protect his leader from the Naxal ambush, said Chaudhary Rakesh Singh Chaturvedi, member of legislative assembly of opposition, Bhind, Madhya Pradesh.
Chaturvedi is a distant relative of VC Shukla.
Praful Shukla (43) had fired 19 rounds, guarding VC Shukla from rain of bullets from the Naxal end.
With the last round left and after losing all hope of guarding his master, Praful turned to Shukla, touched his feet and said, "Vidya bhaiyya, forgive me. I could not save you." With these being his last words, he shot himself in the head with the last and 20th bullet in his gun.
Praful, who served the former union minister for the last seven years, had stood guard to Shukla till the last minute, until he was left with the last bullet in his gun. By then Shukla had been injured with three bullets in his abdomen and lungs. He was made to lie down on the back seat of his Toyota Land Cruiser car.
"Praful had about 20 rounds and after exhausting all of them, he shot himself in the head with the last one. He took Shukla's blessing before doing so," said Chaturvedi.
Chaturvedi had been to Medanta - The Medicity to pay his respects to the 85-year-old senior congress leader, who is recuperating in the ICU.
But before Praful could end his life, he made sure his leader was safe. "Praful was very loyal. He had first made Shukla lie down on the back seat of the car. When he lost hope, he put Shukla under the car to hide him from the gun shots, and then shot himself," said Yatish Gandhi, a party worker and Shukla's follower from Raigad, Chattisgarh.
Praful is survived by his wife and two children (around 10-12 years). "He was the sole earning member and a very simple man," added Gandhi. He lived in Raipur, Chattisgarh.
A guard of honour was given to him on Sunday at Jagdalpur, where the ambush took place.
Shukla, who was bleeding profusely, laid on the ground for the next four hours, until a journalist spotted him and rushed him to a local hospital - Ramkrishna Hospital. "The Maoists had blocked all the approach roads to the spot of firing. That's why none of us could enter the place," added Gandhi.
Primary treatment was given to Shukla at the hospital, from where he was referred to Medanta - The Medicity on Sunday morning.