A pall of gloom descended on Beltukuri village in Nuapada, Odisha, where the body of assistant sub-inspector Kruparam Majhi was cremated with full state honours on Wednesday.
Majhi, the in-charge of Dharambandha police station, was killed by Maoists on Tuesday.
He was ambushed by a group of 25 while escorting a water tanker to the CRPF camp at Lodra village inside the Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary. His bullet-ridden body was found near the camp after a three-hour search.
Over 2,000 people attended the funeral, including Odisha's senior police officers - inspector general (operations) Arun Sarangi and deputy inspector general (southwest range) Soumendra Priyadarshi. "This was the first time the Maoists killed a policeman in cold blood. We'll try to give a fitting reply," said Priyadarshi.
A tribal from Beltukuri village, Majhi had joined the police force at the age of 27 as a constable. His father was a farmer. "Majhi was a good man who was always ready to help people. He is a hero for all of us," said a villager.
Majhi is survived by his mother, wife and four daughters, aged between 14 and 4. His three elder daughters study in the local school. The villagers have demanded that the government should also take care of their education.
The police officers handed a cheque of Rs. 8 lakh - the ex-gratia announced by the state government - to Majhi's wife Jogeswari. The government has also announced that a member of the family would be given a job.