"No one from our family will ever join the police," was all that slain Bihar Military Police constable Lucas Tete's 33-year-old brother William told HT on Friday.
His widow Pyari Tete, 40, and their three daughters aged between 11 and 17, had reached Patna on Friday morning from Lakhisarai to meet Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to urge him to secure Lucas's release from the Maoists. Instead, what Pyari received was her husband's bullet-ridden body.
"I just don't know how we'll pay our daughters' school fees," is all she mumbled before leaving for their village in Jharkhand.
As news reached their village, neighbours and relatives thronged Lucas's thatched mud-house to share the family's grief.
"The government has finally proved it does not value a policeman's life," said Lucas's cousin Vimal Tete, in Porhatoli.
"Had it been a politician or bureaucrat, the Bihar government would have moved heaven and earth to secure their release," he said as tears rolled down his cheeks.
In Mohanpur village of Bihar's Begusarai district, a deathly suspense pervades the home of police inspector Abhay Prasad Yadav, who the Maoists claimed they had killed on Thursday.
Not knowing if he's alive, Abhay's wife Rajni, their four children, mother and brother are living on the precipice between hope and despair.
Abhay's brother Nirbhay, 30, is angry. "It's all lies -- media reports of Nitish Kumar coming out to console us," Nirbhay said. "We stood outside his house for two full days. Not once did he come out to meet us or have us called inside. If there's anyone to blame for my brother's plight, it is he."