More than 500 students of School of Law, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, undertook a Candle March at around 7:00 PM in their Campus on Thursday, in the memory of the martyred CRPF Commandant Pramod Kumar to pray for the eternal peace of the departed Soul.
The Candle March was joined by the local CRPF Unit in Bhubaneswar accompanied by the senior CRPF officials, director of School of Law and the faculty members of the School. The Candle March was expected to be joined by the wife of the martyred CRPF officer, Neha Tripathi, who could not turn up because of some last-moment unavoidable circumstances. However, a videotape in her voice was played at the culminating points of the March. In her message, she thanked the students, faculties, director, founder, CRPF personnel and all others who accompanied the March for making it a success.
“It is a very important day,” these were the last words of CRPF Commandant Pramod Kumar after he unfurled the tricolor at the forces’ base in Srinagar, minutes before he fell to militants’ bullets in the Nowhatta area of the Jammu and Kashmir capital. A senior CRPF officer who had served with Kumar in the counter-insurgency grid in the north-east earlier had said that the officer was “cool, but daring”.
“We will never know why he had said that it was an important day. Perhaps, he had some premonition of the events that unfolded in quick time that day,”- said a senior CRPF officer who attended the event.
That fateful day
On 15th of August 2016, at around 08:00 hrs, the troops of 28 Bn CRPF were deployed for Law and Order duties in connection with Independent Day Celebrations at Nowhatta Chowk, Srinagar. Troops came under attack by militants who hurled grenades and fired with automatic weapons. The attack was retaliated by the troops. On receipt of information about the attack, DIG CRPF and Pramod Kumar, Commandant 49 Bn, CRPF rushed to the incident site and took over charge of the situation. Leading from the front, he along with his men succeeded in eliminating 02 militants before he was hit on the forehead. He was immediately evacuated to 92 Base Hospital, Srinagar where he was brought in a state of coma. He shortly succumbed to his injuries. Other personnel including 09 CRPF men and 01 J&K Police personnel also sustained bullet / splinter injuries during the encounter. They were also admitted to 92 Base Hospital. Barely an hour before his martyrdom, the officer had unfurled the tricolor and addressed the Jawans.
The wife of the martyred CRPF officer, Neha Tripathi, interacted with the English Newspaper “˜Indian Express’ after the incident.
“We chatted over the phone last night. He was insisting I send videos of our daughter, who is learning Kathak. He was so excited. I had called on during morning on the day when he was martyred, but he didn’t pick up. Initially, I thought he was busy with the flag hoisting ceremony. But when he did not return my call, I tried the control room. They told me my husband was injured. I was worried. I got in touch with others from his camp. They told me he was in the operation theatre. A couple of hours later, they informed me he was no more,” -said the martyred officer’s wife.
Recalling her daughter’s birthday last month, she said, “He was busy with the Amarnath Yatra so he could not come home. But, he sent her a Barbie and a birthday dress through courier. We were hoping he would be home around this time, but he told us one of his senior officers was on leave, so he could not come.”
An officer with high operational acumen
Directly appointed officer Pramod Kumar joined CRPF on 01/01/1998. Hailing originally from Bakhtiyarpur in Patna, Bihar, he was presently residing in Jamatara District in Jharkhand. He was posted in Srinagar, J&K with effect from April 2014 and was promoted to the rank of Commandant on 12 July 2016. At the time of the incident, he was performing duties of Staff Officer to DIG (North) SNR since April 2014. More popularly, known among his colleagues as a gallant officer with a very amiable nature, he also came across as an emphatic leader to his men. He had served in Srinagar, Tripura, Assam, Jammu, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh.
An officer with high operational acumen, he was awarded the DG’s Commendation Disc in 2015 and was also awarded the DG’s Commendation Certificate in 2011 and 2014. He remained on deputation with elite Special Protection Group (SPG) with effect from 2011 to 2013.
He is survived by his wife Neha Tripathi, a 06-year-old daughter Aarna and a 63-year-old father. He got married in 2008. Kumar’s father Prabhu Mistry, who retired from Chittaranjan Locomotive works, and Neha’s father, who used to work in a Company in Bokaro, were neighbors. He was the only son among five children of his father who used to take care of the entire family.
“Normally, officers can be strict, but he was different. He was a good son, a good husband and a good father. Aarna, our 6-year-old daughter was his life,”-said the officer’s wife during her interaction with reporters.
Narrator is a 5th year B.A.LL.B student in School of Law, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar.