Silence prevails in the general ward of Prakash Hospital where 50-year-old Rupa Devi feeds her son through a nasogastric feeding tube, with teary eyes.
For the last three years, Devi has spent all her time in the hospital, taking care of her 26-year-old son Jitender Kumar Sharma, who suffered a serious head injury in a Naxal attack three years ago.
Sharma, the sole breadwinner of the family, was among the seven Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who were injured in the bomb blast of an ambulance at Kamanar village in Chattisgarh on April 12, 2014. The attack left five dead, while Sharma and another soldier were injured.
Sharma, who belonged to 80th battalion, received serious head injuries and has been lying comatose at Prakash Hospital in Sector 33. His parents want him shifted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi for a speedy recovery.
On Saturday, Maninderjeet Singh Bitta, the chairman of All India Anti-Terrorist Front, visited Sharma at the hospital and interacted with his family and the doctors attending to him.
He said, “Through reports, I got to know that this soldier is comatose. I will raise this issue (of shifting him to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital or AIIMS) with the Central government. It is disheartening to know he is not in a prestigious hospital and being treated by a team of experts. Three years means a lot and the family has been living every day wearing their heart on the sleeve.”
He said that the doctors tried their best, but resources and attention are significant factors in such serious cases.
Devi said, “It’s been three years and he has not regained consciousness. The doctors have been trying their best, but there is no change. There are experts at AIIMS who can attend to him.”
She said that his condition was critical after the attack and he was initially admitted to Ramakrishna Hospital in Raipur. It was on January 14, 2016, that the jawan was shifted to Prakash Hospital.
CRPF personnel are on duty with him for assistance. To take care of Sharma, the family has split into two — Sharma’s mother and father, Ram Suhawan Sharma, stay in the hospital, while Sharma’s brother Pintu Kumar Sharma and sister Pooja stay home in Drubha village of Bihar.
Sharma had joined the CRPF only a year before the attack and the family was dependent on him for their livelihood. Now, the salary is used to pay for travel expenses and looking after him.
The attack has not only affected Sharma’s life, it has also hampered the education of his younger brother, who was pursuing a bachelor’s degree. “We don’t have any agricultural land and my husband would work in fields as a labourer. After Babu (Sharma) got a job, we were living a peaceful life,” said Devi.
“It is time for my daughter to get married, but I don’t see any hope. My son (Sharma) received his bachelor of arts degree and always asked his siblings to work hard. Those dreams are now dead.”