‘He didn’t run away’
“People never used to look at the Home Guard with the respect that they had for the police, the army or the NSG.india Updated: Dec 26, 2008 14:46 IST
“People never used to look at the Home Guard with the respect that they had for the police, the army or the NSG. But my brother’s martyrdom has changed people’s perception about the Home Guard,” says Chandrashekhar, brother of the slain Mukesh Jadhav, who died at Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus on November 26.
Mukesh (23), a constable with the Home Guard, who was on duty near the waiting hall of CST station, was shot around 9.50 pm, but not before he had managed to save the lives of many others. “As soon as the terrorists entered the station and started firing, Mukesh started evacuating people. Though he had no previous training in handling such situations, he did not run away from the place as many others did,” says Chandrashekar.
The family’s pride in his sacrifice is evident in the faces of Mukesh’s father, 75-year-old Bikaji Jadhav, a retired sweeper with the BMC, and his mother, Sulochana, who treasure their son’s Home Guard cap, badge and other belongings that they have carefully preserved.
In his 10’ x 15’ house in the narrow lanes of Sion’s Nehru Nagar locality, Mukesh’s sister-in-law Sandhya says they learnt about the crisis when they turned on their television set.
“We tried to call him but he did not answer.” They kept trying, and finally, a fellow home guard picked up the phone and told them Mukesh had been shot. They rushed to CST, from where they took him, injured but still conscious, to St. George’s hospital (behind CST).
“But at the hospital, we were told we were fifth in the queue for the operation theatre,” recounts Chandrashekhar. Precious time was lost. “The doctors informed that had the bullets not hit his chest he could have been saved (Mukesh was shot in his chest and abdomen)”, he added.
This is one of the family’s many regrets. The other one is that Mukesh did not live to join the army. “Right from his childhood, his dream was to join the army. On the 26th, he had filled up a form to do so...” recalls Chandrashekar. It was not to be.