CHENNAI: “We salute the brave man who died serving his country,” read the printed words running beneath the poster of a uniform-clad Vijay Raj, who was among the seven CRPF jawans who perished in a Maoist attack in Dantewada.
The 46-year-old had visited his family in Chennai just days before the incident, and had even been approved for a promotion. But that fateful IED blast drastically altered things for his family back home, as they received the news of the attack that claimed his life.
The air was palpably heavy at his family home in Ambattur, where his body arrived on Thursday evening. Loud wails of despair rang through the street as a family-friend sombrely informed the victim’s kin that the body was being covered up completely as “the face had taken all the impact.”
His brother Mohanraj said the news had hit the family hard, especially since Vijay had visited them only days ago. He expressed how they could not bring themselves to tell his mother about his demise. The family had even cut off the television cable so she would not find out that her son had died, said a neighbour.
“He was such a gentleman. Always paid attention to everyone around him,” says Kanamma, an old resident of the street which is named after Vijay’s father.
He leaves behind his wife and 15-year-old daughter.