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'They misbehaved with my son'

Head Constable Om Prakash Dabas was 45 years old when he died. He was on duty at Parliament House on December 13, 2001.

Dabas belonged to a family of policemen. His father served in the Delhi police; two of his three brothers are constables.

The family lives in north Delhi, in Bawana, bordering Haryana. Dabas's wife, Vimla Devi, led a sheltered existence until her husband fell to a terrorist bullet. The uneducated 42 year-old housewife firmly believes terrorism is evil and that her husband died fighting for his country.

Today, her world is limited to her two sons and to the kitchen.

Vimla Devi: I remember everything about the day he died. He [Dabas] asked me for his breakfast at 6 o'clock in the morning. He was smiling. He was in a very good mood. That day, he wore his black suit to work. He looked so good in it. He had the habit of going to Parliament in his civil dress and changing into his uniform there.

I still have that black suit with me. I also have his uniform, which is full of bloodstains, and his shoes. He was promoted just one month before he died, so he had bought new maroon shoes.

I never thought he would leave me like this. No one told me about it when it happened. Everybody was running around. I kept asking them what had happened, but they ignored me. Late at night, I was told militants had attacked Parliament at 10.30am and he had died defending it at 11.40am.

He gave his life for the country and I am proud of him. People come and console me. They praise his bravery. But life is not easy without him even though I have everything. I feel there is nothing in my life. My sons are my only hope now.

The elder one, who is 22, is handicapped; he lost his hand in an accident many years ago. He is taking care of the family. He has studied in college. My younger son left school two years ago after he passed the ninth standard. He does not want to study, but I have forced him to go back to school. He is planning to appear for the Class X exams this year. The Delhi police have promised him a job after that.

I get money every month from the police. That is how the family is surviving. They also gave me about Rs 7,00,000 that I have put in the bank.

The [Delhi] chief minister [Sheila Dixit] had promised us Rs 4,00,000 -- this was published in the newspapers -- but I have yet to receive the money. The chief minister's office says our file is with the lieutenant governor [Vijai Kapoor].

I have never been to any office. When my son went there to find out what was happening, they said we have got enough money. They misbehaved with my son. I have asked my son not to go there anymore.

The government also promised us a petrol pump. They gave us the papers last year. Now they say there is no land. We have to face whatever happens. I pray that my sons will do well in life. That will be the only tribute to my husband.

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