Head constable Ramashankar Yadav, who was killed by SIMI operatives on Monday, used to complain about his duty hours. “He used to say that he, at the age of 58, is not fit to keep check on terrorists,” Yadav’s neighbour and friend Bhupendra Singh recollected.
“(For the) past year, he was the head warder of terrorist cell and mostly used to work at night shift. He often complained about his odd duty hours to his seniors but didn’t get any respite. He did not celebrate Diwali because of his duty. We were waiting for him to return after which we planned to celebrate (Diwali), but it never happened,” Singh said.
Yadav was killed inside the isolated B block in the jail by eight operatives of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) late on Sunday night. The men slit Yadav’s throat with a knife fashioned out of a steel plate.
The head constable is survived by his wife Hiramani, sons Shambhunath and Prabhunath and daughter Sonia Yadav. Both the sons serve in army. Sonia is due to be married in five weeks. “Because their sister’s wedding was due in December, the brothers did not avail leaves to come home this Diwali,” Ramashankar Yadav’s nephew Aatmaram said.
“We want our father to be declared a martyr. He gave his life serving the department. He did not deserve to die like this,” the younger son, Prabhunath, said. Shamubnath will arrive home on Tuesday for the final rituals of his father.
Sonia, who was looking forward to her last Diwali with her family before her wedding, was left in deep shock at the news of Yadav’s death. “She was very excited... Invitation cards have already been distributed and all the preparations were on full swing. We are not sure how will things be now,” a relative said.
Jail minister Kusum Mehdele met Yadav’s family and announced a government job and ex-gratia compensation of Rs 50,000. The minister expressed resentment over the ‘mismanagement’ of the prison department in the whole episode.