Slain CRPF jawan’s family yet to come to terms with loss

Family of Rohitash Lamba, killed in Pulwama attack, says promise to name a public place after him yet to be kept

Updated - August 25, 2020 07:22 pm IST

Published - February 13, 2020 10:41 pm IST - GOVINDPURA BASRI

Rohitash Lamba’s brother Jitendra and son Dhruv at his half-built memorial.

Rohitash Lamba’s brother Jitendra and son Dhruv at his half-built memorial.

Oblivious of the tragedy that struck his family a year ago, toddler Dhruv approaches his father’s large picture in the courtyard of his spacious house every day and bows his head with folded hands and eyes closed with reverence. The one-year-old boy has learnt the ritual from his mother, whom he often finds lost in grief.

One year after the deadly Pulwama terror attack , the family of the slain Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawan, Rohitash Lamba, has yet to come to terms with the loss. Lamba, 27, a native of small Govindpura Basri village situated 65 km away from Jaipur, was the youngest of the five CRPF personnel from Rajasthan who lost their lives in the suicide attack.

Also Read | Pulwama terror attack: No intelligence failure, says government

With their lives disrupted by the tragedy, Lamba’s wife Manju Devi and parents are mostly immersed in taking care of young Dhruv, who was born barely two months before the jawan was killed.

Ms. Devi, 24, affirms that though she knows of challenges in her life, she would like to see her son following the footsteps of his late father.

Lamba had joined the CRPF as a constable in 2013 and undergone training in Kannur, Kerala, before he was posted in Jammu division’s Doda district. After his son’s birth, he visited home for a fortnight for celebrations in February 2019 and left for duty barely four days before the Pulwama terror strike.

‘Ideal husband’

“He was an ideal husband. In our short married life of two years, we never fought on anything. He cooked food for me when he came home during my pregnancy,” Ms. Devi said, with tears swelling in her eyes. Lamba spoke to her on phone for the last time just an hour before his death, assuring her of his safety and asking her to take care of their son.

Though the Rajasthan government has allotted one bigha land in the village for building a memorial for Lamba and provided a package of financial assistance worth ₹50 lakh to the family, the jawan’s father, Babulal Lamba, expects a better recognition for his son. The promise to name a public place such as school or park after the slain braveheart is yet to be kept.

Blood donation

The family has decided to organise a blood donation camp at the half-built memorial on Friday to commemorate Lamba’s first death anniversary. His younger brother, Jitendra, said people from Govindpura Basri, with a population of 4,000, as well as the nearby villages would attend the camp. The blood collected will be sent to a hospital in the nearby Chomu town.

Government job

Jitendra, 26, has met Shahpura MLA Alok Beniwal and the officers in Jaipur several times with the request for a government job on compassionate grounds, as there is no one else capable of earning a livelihood to sustain the family. “Our agricultural land is lying in disuse because of paucity of water. My parents earlier worked as rural employment guarantee labourers... We may have to return to manual labour if I do not get a job.”

Mr. Babulal Lamba said though he wanted Rohitash to become a teacher, he was inclined towards sports and physical activities since his childhood. “After completing his schooling, He used to walk for 7 km every day to attend the Government College in Chimanpura. He went to Jaipur to write the B.Ed. entrance exam, but instead appeared in the CRPF recruitment exam on the same day... We came to know of it later.”

‘Who were involved’

Mr. Babulal Lamba regretted that the “conspiracy” behind the Pulwama attack had not yet been unravelled and no one knew how a vehicle laden with 200 kg of explosives had hit the CRPF bus. “Both the BJP and the Congress exploited the attack for their electoral advantage in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll campaign. As the father of a slain jawan, I have right to know how my son was killed... Who all were involved?” he asked.

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