New Delhi: CRPF soldier Jitendra Kumar went into coma five years ago after he was caught in a Maoist-triggered IED blast in Chhattisgarh, but his boss and CRPF DIG Yogyan Singh didn't lose hope all this while, believing he would recover someday and "we would then send him to his home in Bihar".
But his hopes dashed on Saturday when 31-year-old Kumar breathed his last on a hospital bed here.
"He passed away on Saturday. I felt betrayed as I believed if he has been with us, fought his cruel destiny for five years and would recover someday," the DIG said.
Kumar was admitted to the AIIMS in vegetative state after Chhattisgarh emergency services ambulance he was travelling in was ambushed by Maoists in Sukma district on April 12, 2014.
Kumar, who belonged to the 80th battalion of the CRPF, suffered splinter injuries on his body and his brain had gone dead due to the shock he suffered from the blast.
Five Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troops were killed along with two civilians in the blast which was carried out by Maoists targeting forces returning after poll duty for general elections in the Maoist-hotbed.
"Kumar and an another of our troopers were injured. He (Kumar) was critical since the attack took place and we got him air evacuated first to Jagdalpur and then an air ambulance brought him to a private hospital here and subsequently he was shifted to the AIIMS trauma center," Singh told PTI.
"Everytime I went to see Kumar, I hoped he would speak, fix his eyes on me and we would then send him to his home in Bihar," he said.
Singh was posted as the Deputy Inspector General (operations) in Chhattisgarh when the incident took place and his subsequent posting to CRPF headquarters in Delhi helped him to visit Kumar at the AIIMS very often.
"Kumar was a native of Dubha village in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. He is survived by his parents. His body is being sent with a ceremonial guard to his home where he will be cremated with full honours as accorded to a martyr," a senior CRPF officer said.
The jawan, who joined the force in 2011, was awarded the ''Parakram Padak'' of the gallantry medal given to troops who render exceptional duties in hard Left Wing Extremism-hit and insurgency-affected areas, he said.
His mother used to regularly visit Delhi to see her son but due to family and economic compulsions at home, these visits were short, the officer said.
A team of CRPF attendants, doctors and paramedics were deputed in service of Kumar, the official said.
"I still pass through that area in Sukma where Kumar was injured and I know that the silence of his life and death will haunt me forever," said DIG Singh, who has again been posted to Chhattisgarh.