Profiles of the jawans who died in the the Maoist attack on security forces in Silda in West Bengal on Monday.
Daulat Rai (46), a resident of Gairigaon, Ghayabari in Darjeeling district, joined the Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) in 1986 and was the sole breadwinner of his family.
Rai, who was buried in his hometown on Thursday in the presence of thousands of villagers, former servicemen and officials, was worried about his daughter Anisha’s Class 12 exams, starting in a few days.
Rai would call his daughter early morning every day, the call acting like an alarm clock for Anisha.
Banin Chandra Diamari (46) had last taken break from work for a week in January. He was posted at the Silda camp for a year and was with the EFR for 24 years. His parents were from Goalpara district of Assam.
“He would take care of the family. He used to call me almost every day and inquire about the children,” said his wife Dhutreshwari. “He was very concerned about their education.”
Diamari was fond of cooking and would help his wife in the kitchen when he was home.
Gopal Krishna Chettri (45) Gopal Krishna Chettri (45), a resident of Sukani Busty near Nagrakata in Jalpaiguri district, was supposed to come home on vacation next month. He called his wife Sarita on Monday afternoon and told her he had just come back from duty and was going to rest for some time. He promised to call again in evening. But instead, Sarita got a call from a senior EFR officer that evening –– informing her that her husband had been killed.
A father of two girls and a boy, Gopal was on duty since December 30.
Kanteswar Basumataray (48) Kanteswar Basumataray last met his family on January 17 during the festival of Makar Sankranti, at home in Salua in West Midnapur, West Bengal. He was posted at Silda for a year.
Originally a resident of Rangjuli in Assam, he is survived by a wife, a daughter and a son. “He was a family man,” said his wife Padmini Bala. “Whenever he came home he would bring gifts for his children.”
“He would often bring me chocolates,” said his 11-year-old son Biswajit. Biswajit’s sister Neera, a student of Class 12, recalled how her father would scold her for neglecting studies and then buy gifts to make up.
Chandra Chettri (42) Chandra Chettri’s family has a tradition of donning the khaki. Of six brothers, five joined the police.
Their father, the late Dal Bhadur Chettri, was also in the force.
Chandra, a resident of Subash Unnayan Palli near Police Lines in Jalpaiguri, was speaking to his wife, Hema, on the phone, when the Maoists struck. Before the line went dead, Chandra managed to tell Hema to take care of his old mother and children. A few hours later, the family was told that Chandra was among the victims.
Arjun Singh Thakukuri (31) Arjun Singh Thakukuri was among the best sharpshooters in the EFR and had received many certificates and commendations.
He was born in Nepal but spent most of his childhood at his uncle’s quarters at Salua in West Midnapur. A keen athlete, he would take part in inter-departmental sports.
He had spent most of his career in the Maoist-affected areas of Bengal and was posted at Silda six months ago. “I would worry about him whenever we spoke on the phone,” said his wife. “But he would reassure me and say that even if I die Iwill kill at least three to four of the enemies.”
Bihan Kachari (42) Bihan Kachari, originally a resident of Meghalaya, served the EFR for 20 years. Trained in handling sophisticated weapons, he was posted at the Silda camp for about a year.
He stayed with his wife Puspa and two daughters at the EFR staff quarters at Salua in West Midnapur.
“He was a family person and never mixed work and family,” said Puspa said.
Kachari had come home from the camp about three months ago. “We would be so happy when he came home,” Puspa said. “He was very close to the children,” she said.
Shanti Kumar Rai (45) Shanti Kumar Rai had called his wife Bina a few hours before the Maoists’ attack and told her he would be home on Wednesday.
A resident of Zeemi Line, Upper Phagu Tea Estate in Darjeeling district, Rai had planned to invite his neighbours for his house warming ceremony.
A father of two girls, Banu and Pranu, he had got a new house constructed and was due to visit his native village to celebrate the occasion. But instead, a coffin carrying his body reached home on Wednesday.