MEERUT: When Fareeda Bibi heard that her son Sher Mohammad — a CRPF constable+ who was part of the battalion that was ambushed in Sukma — had been taken to a Raipur hospital with five bullet wounds, her heart sank.
It was much later that someone in her village of Aasifabad Chanpura in Bulandshahr, UP, told her that her son had taken down at least three Maoists even as he collapsed in unbearable agony. That’s when she smiled a bit. “I am proud that my son fought like a lion for his country,” the 65-year-old said. “He is keeping alive a tradition that our family is known for.”
Sher‘s father Noor Mohammad served in the Indian Army and retired with honour. His uncle Abdul Salam was also in the Army and retired 10 years ago.
Though TOI could not independently verify details about Sher’s encounter with Maoists, the jawan told a TV channel from his hospital bed in Raipur that the 74th Battalion of the CRPF was overseeing construction of a road when about 300 Naxals ambushed them with AK-47 rifles+ . “The 99 CRPF soldiers fought hard. We retaliated, gave them a fitting response. We were able to gun down at least 11 to 12 Naxals. I myself shot down two-three,” Sher has been quoted as saying. He was caught by machine gun fire in the waist and knee.
“We know what it means to join the Army or CRPF,” she said. “There is risk, of course. But patriotism flows in our veins.” Waris Ali, Sher’s eldest brother, was the first one to receive news of the attack through an acquaintance who saw the report on TV. Waris told TOI: “As soon as we heard about the incident, we called up CRPF authorities in Raipur. They said Sher was being cared for, so there was no need to rush (to Raipur). I drove down this morning from Delhi, where I work, to be with my mother.” A large number of villagers have gathered around Fareeda and Waris, consoling them and praying with them. One of them, Aqleem Ali said, “We are a big family. A large number of our relatives are in the armed forces. Sher has done something every fauji would do under such circumstances. He will come back.”