The explosion was deafening. The smoke was thick, acrid and dark.
And the fear was palpable. For, the landmine exploded just 5 feet away from me.
It tore apart a section of the road leading to Lalgarh police station. I had a taste of the battlefield on my first visit to Lalgarh.
With two other scribes, I was on my way to Lalgarh from Jhargram. We thought of paying a visit to the police station to get a feel of the area a day before Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s visit.
Our vehicle slowed down as a group of Central Reserve Police Force jawans was marching along the road, their eyes searching everywhere.
We got down from the car and walked a few paces with them, trying to figure out what was of so much interest to them.
One of them stopped to ask if we had any information on the rebels’ movement. We explained it was their movement that made us leave the car and walk in this heat.
Soon we came across a vertical cut on the road. One of my colleagues explained that it was one of the roads dug up to prevent the forces from entering the area. Just as I crossed it, I heard one of the jawans trying to draw his senior’s attention.
Then came the noise and the smoke. As the smoke cleared, we walked back to the spot. While some jawans fanned out in a defensive position, some were attending to the only man who was injured.
It was only 5 km from the police station. But nobody rushed to the spot. It was silence in the middle of lush green paddy fields, broken occasionally by the injured jawan’s groans.