The death of 30-year-old CRPF jawan, Pankaj Kumar Tripathi, in Pulwama terror attack finally ushered in some long pending 'vikaas' or development in Uttar Pradesh's Maharajganj, close to the Nepal border. The village primary school, which was in a shambles for long, despite many reminders by the villagers for renovation, is now being rebuilt. The school has also been renamed after the slain soldier. The dirt track leading up to Pankaj Kuman Tripathi's house is being relaid.
The steps were taken after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the family on Sunday and promised to provide some facilities.
The soldier had left home on February 10, after 2 months and 17 days of leave. He and his wife, Rohini, were very excited about the arrival of their second child, due in a few months. He had promised that he would take special leave for the occasion and organise a grand feast in his village, the soldier's family told NDTV.
Pankaj Kumar Tripathi last spoke to his parents, Om Prakash Tripathi and Sushila Devi, over the phone on February 14, the morning of the Pulwama terror attack. He told them that he would be travelling to Srinagar and reaching by late afternoon. When his parents heard about the horrific attack on radio, they immediately called their son on his mobile but no one answered.
"I was told that only his licence and pan card were recovered and nothing else," Om Prakash Tripathi said fighting back tears.
"I did not want him to go to CRPF. I wanted him to earn money but I wanted him to return home each evening," said Sushila Devi.
Pankaj Kumar Tripathi joined the CRPF in 2012 and was currently posted as a driver. In 2014, the soldier was shortlisted for the elite National Security Guard or NSG - a special force that deals with internal disturbances, but he could not make the final cut.
Undeterred, the soldier then enrolled for a specialised driving course with the CRPF and finished a year's training in late 2017.
"Disturbance was going on in Kashmir for so long. Obviously there has been negligence. Otherwise how does one smuggle in such huge quantities of explosives and assembly a bomb...we should accept it but we should also respond, " says Amin Ansari, a lawyer and family friend.