These paramilitary officers surviving after grievous injuries in encounters is stuff legends are made of
Last week, just before Chetan Cheetah CRPF Commandant resumed duty, he went to meet BSF DIG NN Dubey, the man who led one of the country's deadliest encounters in Srinagar. NN Dubey led the encounter of the 2003 parliament attack mastermind "Gazi Baba".
During the encounter, Dubey was shot at several times by terrorists but he survived with utmost grit and determination, a quality which is seen in CRPF's Cheetah as well.
As the Commandant of 45 battalion in Sumbal, Chetan Cheetah took 9 bullet shots on February 14 in Hajin area of Bandipora in North Kashmir. It was a year long battle and Chetan Cheetah's never say die spirit that shot him to fame.
NN Dubey, then Assistant Commandant of BSF, on August 30, 2003 led a team of eight men to Noorbagh area. There was a heavy exchange of fire while. The BSF men climbed the second floor of a house, two of Dubey's men who were separated earlier reached the roof of the house and had to jump 40 feet from two storey house.
Dubey was hit several times, but kept firing back despite his grievous injuries. Later, he crawled out of the building.
In the hospital, doctors feared they might have to amputate Dubey's arm. Another bullet was lodged in his back. A medal Dubey was carrying saved a bullet straight to his chest.
Dubey later resumed work in a non-combat role owing to his injuries and happened to meet Chetan at the Srinagar Airport few months before the Hajin encounter. The two officers had then exchanged courtesies.
When Chetan was hit, seeing his grievous injury former DG of CRPF Prakash Mishra asked Dubey to meet Cheetah. When the two soldiers came face to face, Dubey motivated Cheetah.
Dubey said, "My injuries were grievous but Cheetah was more critical." Dubey had not received a skull injury, whereas CRPF commandant Chetan was hit by a bullet which pierced his skull from the left and exited from the right eye, destroying vision completely in one eye.
Dubey had lost sensation in one hand, but has regained functional strength. Cheetah is still struggling with functionality of both hands, and is undergoing physiotherapy.
Dubey's large intestine was removed, and replaced with an anal pouch to aide digestion. Chetan was a bit lucky, his colon was shortened, the damaged part removed. But both officers face complication.
AIIMS doctor had called Dubey to help reassure Chetan about life post a critical surgery. Dubey, led by example and talked about his own ordeal and how he survived after surgeries. He helped Chetan and his family dispel few notions.
Dubey says, "a soldier when he is hit by a bullet thinks about his life, will he miss the boat? Will he survive or die?"
Dubey was in for a surprise when Cheetah walked up to meet him, with an eye patch and an unwavering smile. Both shared similar physical marks on their arms, stark reminders of two encounters, their struggle of survival as soldier. Both Kirti Chakra awardees now look at each other with respect and inspiration. Each has an awe inspiring story of their own.