A Birthday That Never Came: Bulandshahr Cop’s Family Grieves
Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
Camerapersons: Abhishek Ranjan and Isha Hussain
Police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh's family had especially been looking forward to the month of January – first, for his 45th birthday which was on New Year's day and then, for his 25th wedding anniversary, which would have been on 24 January.
But the inspector never came home – his life cut short in the line of duty on 3 December, when a mob turned violent and attacked policemen at the Chingrawati police chowki in Uttar Pradesh's Bulandshahr district after alleged cow slaughter in a nearby village.
"He didn't believe in taking or giving gifts... He used to get just one flower and say, 'I am here and that's the biggest gift for you.' I used to say, 'I don't want anything else.' Actually, he didn't get time during duty hours," a teary-eyed Rajini, Subodh Kumar's wife, recalls what his birthdays were like.
But the family did remember him on 1 January by putting his picture on the couch and narrating to him all that they had done over the past month.
Read the podcast for the interview here.
'His Last Words to Me Were 'I Am Going to Sleep''
Even a month later, the family remembers the fateful day of 3 December as if it happened only yesterday. Subodh Kumar's 17-year-old son Abhishek was giving his first pre-board exam when the incident took place, while Abhishek's mother last spoke to her husband at 9:36 am.
The nature of the violence, of which Subodh Kumar became a target, had left the collective conscience of the society shaken. According to reports, the police officer was attacked with sticks, stones and an axe, before his gun was snatched away and used to shoot him on the head.
‘Just Want This Thing to Go Behind... and Move on With My Family’
Besides grappling with the loss of their loved one, the family also stood witness to the tragic incident being politicised. Distancing themselves from such a trend, Rajini urges political leaders to not use the incident to attack their opponents or to strengthen their vote-bank. "If any politician wants to support us, then give us justice," she asserts.
For an emotionally tenacious Abhishek, the accusations of any political party have not concerned him. His first and last priority – from the day his father died – is ensuring that the culprits are found and put behind bars.
‘My Father Told Me Both the Geeta and the Quran Weigh the Same’
For Shrey and Abhishek, both of whom are currently studying, the loss of their father has come a big jolt.. While elder son Shrey is currently studying for the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) examination in the hopes of becoming a civil servant, Abhishek is especially passionate about pursuing criminal law. To fulfil their dreams, the two are determined to live by the teachings of their father.
"My father told me, 'Abhishek, only have one option, give your 100 percent to it. If you want to study law, then you need to understand the concept of equality. Whether it's Geeta or Quran, it weighs the same. It has the meaning same and the values equal," recalls the 17-year-old younger son, who opted for the humanities stream in school and is preparing for his class 12 board exams.