MADURAI/SALEM: He lost a son in the Maoist encounter in Sukuma, Chhattisgarh on Monday, yet is proud that the martyr’s brother is all set to join the army. Meet retired armyman Pitchaialagu, whose 28-year-old son P Alagupandi’s mortal remains arrived on Monday evening at his Muthunagaiyahpuram village in Madurai district.
“We were looking to get Alagupandi married and even visited a prospective bride. A few days ago, he called to say he asked for a week’s leave so he could meet the girl... We were hoping to get them married,” the father recounts.
A constable with the CRPF, Alagupandi was cut down by a hail of bullets from Maoists during the ambush. Of the 25 CRPF jawans who died in the encounter, four were from Tamil Nadu.
Pitchaialagu doesn’t like dwelling on the loss of Alagupandi for long. Looking at the brighter side, he beams as he says his younger son Pavithran (23) has been selected to serve in the army. Pavithran is currently awaiting recruitment orders. Military life seems to flow in the family’s veins. For, Pitchaialagu got his daughters Sathya and Nithya married to an armyman and a police official, respectively.
“We heard that several CRPF personnel were killed in a Maoist attack and were flipping through TV channels to see if there was any news about our son. It was then that we heard the shocking news,” recalls the breaveheart dad.
The body of Alagupandi, who joined the CRPF in 2009, was brought to the Madurai Airport around 7 pm on Monday and Revenue Minister R B Udayakumar, Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan, district Collector K Veera Raghava Rao, Superintendent of Police Vijayendra S Bidari and CRPF officials paid homage before the body was sent to his native village.
In Salem, relatives of N Thirumurugan, another CRPF personnel who died in the encounter, recounted how they watched their son leave home to join the force. “We educated him with dreams that with him, the family’s problems would end. Our son cheered us up, saying he was going to serve the country and that should make us proud,” said Nallathambi, Thirumurugan’s father.