Relatives console Ranjeeta, wife of BSF officer Rajesh Sharan, at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport on Saturday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Feb. 11: The family members of BSF officer Rajesh Sharan, who was killed in a Maoist landmine blast in Odisha yesterday, are suppressing their grief.
Because they haven’t told Rajesh’s father, a heart patient, that he is no more.
Eighty-year-old Prem Sharan Satrangi, who had to return abruptly to his Morabadi home after boarding a train to Varanasi yesterday, may have sensed that something was amiss.
With a stream of relatives and friends flocking to their third floor flat at Narayani Enclave on Harihar Singh Road, he was heard asking those around him, “Why are you not contacting Rajesh to know why his friend has asked us to cut short our journey?”
Satrangi, a retired PWD chief engineer, failed to understand what was wrong as he met with lame replies from everyone. They said they were trying to contact Rajesh but could not reach him.
Rajesh, 42, was posted in Malkangiri district about two years ago as the second in command of BSF’s 107th battalion. He, along with three other BSF personnel, were killed when rebels blew up their vehicle near the Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri around 1pm as they were returning to their base after attending a meeting on security arrangements for panchayat polls in Odisha.
His death has come as a shock to younger brother Rakesh Sharan, two unmarried sisters, Jayanti Sharan and Dimple Sharan, apart from wife Ranjeeta and seven-year-old son, Ishan.
Rajesh’s mother had passed away 15 years ago while three of his sisters — Kanak, Nutan and Rani Sharan — are married.
“I was accompanying my father to Varanasi for Dimple’s marriage negotiations with Jayanti and Nutan when I received the shocking news around 1.30pm,” Rakesh, a journalist with a local vernacular daily, told The Telegraph.
“A colleague of my brother who is posted in New Delhi informed me over phone. That very moment I decided to cancel our journey. When my father asked about the reasons, I told him that I was instructed by one of my elder brother’s friends. As our train stopped at Muri, we got down and took a passenger train for Ranchi with a heavy heart,” he added.
Rakesh said that the martyr’s wife and son were staying at Gandhinagar in Gujarat, the headquarters of BSF’s 107th battalion. “They are coming today on a flight. The body of my brother is expected to be here by tomorrow, as it has not reached New Delhi so far,” he added.
I.P. Singh, a retired chief mining engineer of Central Mine Planning and Design Institute who has had close relations with the Sharans, also paid a visit to their residence.
He broke down as he remembered Rajesh.
“Rajesh was the pillar of the family. His death has left them in the lurch. I knew the boy since his childhood. He was smart and intelligent and had joined the BSF in 1996 after graduating from Ranchi University in anthropology,” he said, with a lump in his throat.
Sanjeev Kumar, a childhood friend who deals in medicines remembered the BSF officer for his perseverance.
“He completed his matriculation in 1985 from Ram Rudra High School in Chas, Bokaro, with merely 60 per cent marks. But he never looked backed. He studied intermediate in humanities from Marwari College in 1987 and went to Ranchi College. After pursuing a postgraduate course from Ranchi University in 1992, he joined a management school in Patna. But he was chosen as a BSF officer before he could complete it,” he said.