Shock has given way to anger at Mahinder Pratap Singh’s home in Varansi. Singh and C Govindaswamy, both employed with the BRO, were killed in a Taliban suicide attack in Afghanistan on Saturday.
Uma Devi, his widow, is angry at the authorities’ “indifference”. She said no one from the Central government or state government had spoken to the family. The slain engineer’s elder brother was also critical of the government’s “attitude”.
“I have no words to describe the cruel act of the terrorists, but the family is more agonised by the attitude of the Centre, Army and the local authorities, who do not even have a minute to visit us,” said Rajendra Singh.
Mahinder Pratap, 38, is has two children — Nikhil, 12, and Neha, 14. The family lives in Shivpurva colony in Sigra.
Originally from Kadipur village in Azamgarh, Mahinder Pratap was the son of a retired headmaster. He joined the BRO in 1989 and was sent to Afghanistan for the government’s reconstruction work last year.
Govindasamy, 47, a mason, had planned to take voluntary retirement after two years. He had indicated this in his last letter to his wife Sivagami in Thippanahalli village near Krishnagiri, 380 km from Chennai. He is survived by his wife, three daughters — Aruna, Bharathi and Prema — and teenaged son Ganesh. Last year, he had come home to attend Prema’s marriage.
Govindasamy had joined the army in its civil construction wing as a mason and went to Afghanistan as part of the GREFF, an group that works with the Indian Army in Afghanistan.
Krishnagiri district collector Dr Santosh Babu told HT that his body was expected to arrive in India on Sunday night. “The chief minister has sanctioned a compensation of Rs 2 lakh to the family and the body will be cremated with state honours,” he added.