It was exactly a year ago that a proud Sukanta Debnath had left home to join the railway protection force (RPF) as a jawan. On June 13 last year, he had left home to join his new job. A year later, news of his tragic death reached his family members who live in Chakchauberia near Gopalnagar in Bongaon, North 24-Parganas.
Sukanta was killed in a Maoist attack on the Patna-Dhanbad Intercity Express at Bihar’s Jamui district on Thursday.
Sukanta was in coach S-1 along with a colleague. Four other RPF men were in S-2. After some of the Maoists, in the guise of passengers, pulled the chain, Sukanta was the first to alight from the train to investigate. Just after he got down, two women Maoists stabbed him from behind. As he fell on the ground, the rebels pumped several rounds into him.
Family members, relatives, neighbours and close friends could not believe that their ‘Tukai’ – as Sukanta was called by his family, relatives and friends – was no more.
The entire neighbourhood was mourning Sukanta’s death. “Sukanta, whom we called Tukai, was a into sports right from his childhood. We all loved him for his simplicity and jovial behaviour. He was very ambitious,” said Bablu Debnath, a friend.
“He kept in touch with us even after he got the job. We cannot believe that he is no more,” said another friend.
Sukanta’s mother Bina Debi was in no condition to speak. In shock since she learnt of her son’s death, she kept losing consciousness repeatedly.
Sukanta’s father Ratan Debnath, a small-time farmer, said Sukanta had come home on leave that only a few months back and stayed for 10 days. “He organized a big get-together with his friends and relatives. Last night, I lost my only son. He was the only bread-earner in the family,” he said, choking back tears.
Ratan also said that his faher Jadulal Yadav is suffering from cancer and that he himself have also gone through a bypass heart surgery. “My son used to provide most of the treatment cost,” he said.
Sukanta’s elder sister Sumana said her brother had struggled to get a job.”He had earlier got a job in the BSF but did not take it up. He finally joined the RPF and was satisfied with the job. He wished to complete his graduation next year. We all had a dream centering around him but we have now lost everything,” she said.
Narayan Debnath, Sukanta’s uncle who rushed to Chakchauberia from his Serampore residence, said Sukanta used to appear in several exams to get promoted. “We never imagined such a tragic event would occur,” he said.
Sukanta’s brother-in-law Madhab Debnath blamed the authorities, saying that though the area is very much maoist affected, only five to six RPF jawans was posted on duty in entire train.