It had never occurred to me that being a CISF jawan could be life threatening. I'd seen death bodies of CRPF jawans in Imphal. I'd seen policemen senselessly murdered. In the God forshaken state of Manipur, no body right from the vegetable vendor to the Governor is safe. But the thought of a Maoist raid of a CISF outpost in the Hindu heartland of AP, Orissa, Bihar or West Bengal endangering the life of A Friend (AF) had never crossed my mind. Untill the friend called up to tell me he could have died.
There are somethings I remember about the Naxal infested areas. I had just received an offer of appointment in Lok Sabha Secretariat when I got calls from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management for interview to the post of Assistant Commissioner in Coal Mine Provident Fund. By virtue of my still being working in Armed Forces Headquarters at that time, I received a valuable advice of a Colonel hailing from Bihar; mining regions are not the best place to be. Therefore my brother and me decided that a job in Parliament of India was more than enough. That was 1998.
AF started the cell conversation by asking me if I knew about the recent Maoist attack on his unit. I could hardly remember the place of his posting-Orissa. But that was it. All I need I have- his contact number. Just in case. So I asked him straight away where exactly he was posted. But his voice blurred into something like Dhanamanjuri.
"Dhana Manjuri?" I repeated to confirm that I didn't get it wrong.
"Comeon I'm not in a college (DM College is the most prominent educational institute in Manipur). I'm earning a living here in Damanjodi" the stern voice from the other end carried through the airwaves. Immediately I googled the word and found thousands of hits on the net. This time I got it right. Damanjodi.
AF was patiently telling me that it was in Damanjodi where 7 of his comrades were killed in the gun battle on the fateful night of Sunday the 12th April, 2009. And I realized that call could be an emotional one.
AF with a comrade was sent for duty without arms while 3 other comrades from the Quick Reaction Team remained at the post. And behold! the battery of highly motivated naxals cadres stormed the place. All of his comrades stuck in the post plus 4 others from the same unit died and the naxals decamped with a huge haul of arms, ammunitions and explosives. I could only plead that AF needed to thank God for sparing his life.
Later I found out a PTI report from internet. The report shows that the well planned attack on NALCO, Asia's biggest bauxite mine on Sunday night was aimed at disrupting the upcoming Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament of India, seat of lagislation for the largest democracy in the world) polls and loot explosives. Grand Agenda ofcourse!
As for me I could merely say TGMFIOK! Thank God My Friend Is Ok.