GREAT "Unknown Indians"
Kishan Lal ,who saved hundreds by defusing bombs ,dies unheard, unsung
Braver 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.
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