Friday, May 22, 2009

Widowers present a new face of tragedy

23 May 2009, 0456 hrs IST, Soumittra S Bose, TNN

GADCHIROLI: Amid the wailing voices of 21/05 martyrs, Gadchiroli police headquarters ground on Friday had a new crop of mourners.

The men, whose wives in Khaki attained martyrdom along with their male counterparts after being trapped in the Naxal ambush on Thursday at Hatti Gota, added a different hue to the tragedy that is now almost becoming a routine affair in this Naxal-affected district.

Even as five women police constables entered the history books of police sacrifice while countering Naxal attack in the state, their husbands were gearing up to take up a new challenge of playing a dual role of father and mother to their children. The five women constables - Shakuntala Aalam, Gendkumar Umariya, Shobha Tade, Alka Gawde and Sunita Kallo - were part of the 16-member police squad, led by Dhanora police station in-charge senior inspector Ashok Aiyyar, killed in the Naxal attack on Thursday.

A pair of shoes, belonging to one of the women constables, was found below a tree at the ambush spot as a mute reminder to the horrific incident. The Naxals are learnt to have snatched away the gold jewelleries, including mangalsutras, from the bodies of the women before they left the scene of battle.

“I have no other option but to act as their mother too. I have to look after the children and try to ensure that they cope up with the loss,” said Jeetu Umaria, wife of Gendkumar. Jeetu and Gendkumar’s two sons - Ajay (6) and Sandeep (3) — were still to absorb the loss when TOI met the shattered family at the police ground here. “The police came home to inform that she was needed for an operation. She left home saying it is important to respond to the summons,” he added. Jeetu and Gendkumar had been married for 16 years and had celebrated Ajay’s birthday on May 20.

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