GREAT "Unknown Indians" ................................................
saved hundreds by defusing bombs ,dies unheard, unsung
than film heroes, in real life
There were no official words
of condolence nor were any wreaths laid as the body of "Chacha
Bomb Squad" was consigned to the flames here yesterday.
The exploits of unsung hero , Kishan Lal , or
"Chacha Bomb Squad" as he was popularly known among his
former colleagues in the Punjab police, will not find mention
either in history books or in the numerous books written on
terrorism in Punjab.However,those who worked with Chacha still
carry vivid memories of this lean man bending over a live bomb and
studying for some time before snapping at the circuit of the
device in order to defuse it.
When bomb explosions vy Pakistan-backed
terrorists were a comman occurrence in this holy city ,the one
member bomb squad of Chacha helped save hundreds of lives by
defusing the devices . Kishan Lal must have defused at least a
dozen bombs hidden by terrorists in the busy lanes and by-lanes ,
in vehicles and in trains. But he received no laurels for these
acts except for the occasional letter of appreciation .
The services of Chacha, Who had retired as a
subhedar from the army ,were sought by the Punjab police inthe
late 1980s as the department was hampered by the lack of a bomb
disposal expert here .He rejoined the police in 1989 as a special
police offer (SPO) and left the organization three years ,let down
by the attitude of his superiors who were always on the look for
an opportunity to berate him.
At the height of terrorism when unidentified
objects were detected , the wireless sets would frequently blare
"Chacha Bomb Squad lab ke edhar aa" (Chacha Bomb Squad
come here quickly) . Shopkeepers of the busy Katra Ahluwalia area
cannot forget that fateful day in 1991 ,when disposing a bomb in
pouring rain ,himself sustained injuries which led to his arm
being partially disabled .
Due to his army background ,Chacha could
handle complex bomb circuits as he proved in 1992 when he defused
a bomb planted in a compartment of the Frontier Mail minutes
before it was explode.
But recognition eluded him .For all his acts of
courage , Chacha's name was never considered for any bravery
award and neither was he compensated for his medical bills .
Senior police officers often took the credit
for any bomb that Chacha defused .On the plea of certain
well-meaning local citizens ,however ,Chacha's name was forwarded
to the state home department for the shaurya chakra but his file
continues to gather dust in the department .