Text: Krishnakumar P
On November 6, 2007, Meghalaya Deputy Superintendent of Police Raymond Diengdoh got a tip-off about a militant camp in the jungles of the Assam-Meghalaya border.
Though it was just five months since he had arrived in the new district, and he was really in charge of only the traffic department, Diengdoh volunteered to lead a team in the four-hour trek through unmotorable terrain.
During the operation, despite being struck by a bullet he led the team and managed to kill one and capture two dreaded militants. As some militants fled, Diengdoh chased them unmindful of his grievously bleeding wounds.
He was then carried to the closest hospital on a makeshift stretcher after he fell unconscious. But the same terrain he had skillfully negotiated only hours ago proved treacherous on his return, and Diengdoh succumbed to his injuries on the way.
"That is how he is. He just can't say no to anyone," says his 28-year-old wife Saphimosha Blah, often referring to her slain husband in the present tense. The couple had been married for just 13 months.
"Though I do not know this for a fact, he must have volunteered to go. He is that kind of person. He had just moved to the region," she continues.
Image: Raymond Diengdoh's wife Saphimosha Blah, flanked by her father Dr W M War and brother Banman Blah. Photograph: Krishnakumar P. Inset: Raymond Diengdoh, the Meghalaya deputy commissioner of police who died fighting militants and was honoured with a Ashok Chakra.
Also see: The Ashok Chakra winners