Pulwama Attack: Odisha martyr’s family still waiting for call that never came

Bhubaneswar: With the whole nation cloaked in mourning, families of two Odisha jawans are yet to come to terms with their shattered world. Proud they are, but still inconsolable in their grief.

Manoj Kumar Behera of Ratanpur village under Niali area of Cuttack district had spoken to his wife hours before he lost his life in the dastardly terrorist attack in Pulwama of Jammu & Kashmir.

“He was speaking to me over phone on Wednesday when he said that they are shifting somewhere but as the roads were blocked due to bad weather and snowfall, they could not start. Later, when I called him yesterday he told me that he was heading towards Srinagar in bus and hung up. I thought he would be calling me after reaching there,” said wife of Behera, who was one among the 45 CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the attack.

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Survived by his parents, wife and a one-year-old daughter whose birthday was a few days back, the news of Behera’s death has not only shocked his family members but also his entire village. Behera was the sole bread earner of the family and had promised to complete the construction of the house when he returns on his next vacation.

“He had called me over phone yesterday and asked to me to go home as I was at my maternal home. At around 2 AM, my son-in-law all of a sudden called my nephew and asked him to drop me at Ratanpur. On being asked both were silent. After repeatedly asking my nephew, he informed that my son (Manoj) is no more,” said Behera’s grief-stricken mother.

“However, I am yet to receive any calls from the concerned authorities. He had told to return in March and complete the construction of the house. He had also promised to take the family on a vacation. My son would never return now,” his inconsolable mother said.

Behera’s sobbing father who could hardly stifle his tears from rolling down his cheeks said, “I came to know about the incident after seeing the reports in media today morning. He had come home in December and returned to his duty on February 6. He had called his wife and mother yesterday at 1 PM. When I saw the news of the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir in the evening, I tried calling him but could not reach him.”

Another Odia jawan, Havildar Prasanna Kumar Sahu (CRPF 61 Battalion) of Shikhar village in Naugaon block of Jagatsinghpur district, who was also martyred in the terrorist attack in Pulwama is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son. Sahu’s family members received the news of his death from CRPF authorities over phone yesterday night.

Sahu’s daughter, Ranu said “Me and my family are proud that my father laid his life in the service of the nation. However, I am sad; I lost him and won’t get my father back ever again.”

“I am proud more than being sad as my father died in the service of the motherland,” said the bereaved son of Sahu.