The silence in the room was deafening except for occasional muffled whimpers. Tapan Ghosh, grieving father of policeman Sanjay, who was killed by Maoists in West Bengal's Bankura district recently, could not hold his tears as he talked about the inhuman killing of his only son, the sole breadwinner of his family.
More than a week ago, two contingents drawn from the India Reserve Battalion and the State Armed Police, had set out from their camps in Barikul. About 150 armed Maoists attacked the two patrol teams, each comprising 30 personnel.
The encounter, about 1-2 km from the police camps, continued for hours after which five policemen were missing. Of them, three injured were traced and IRB assistant sub-inspector Sanjay was found dead a few kilometres away.
Necessity knows no law, goes the cliched adage. And poverty, perhaps, transcends all barriers. Therefore, though Sanjay's kin are yet to recover from the shock and trauma following the tragedy, they are overwhelmed by another anxiety -- how to feed the family of four.
Journalists are trained to be indifferent towards situations -- they are tutored to wear dispassionate glasses while reporting events.
But some proceedings are so laden with grief and pain that they force even a 'seasoned' scribe to empathise with the interviewees. The plight of the Ghoshs of Santragachhi in Shibpur was a case in point.
Reportage: Indrani Roy Mitra
Image: (From front to back) Sanjay Ghosh's father, his sister Mohua and his mother Pratima
Photographs: Dipak Chakraborty