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Constable Kamlesh Kumari Is A Braveheart We Should Not Forget

Constable Kamelsh Kumari was the first one to doubt the authenticity of the Lal Batti ambassador that had entered the Parliamentary premise on Dec 13, 2002.

[ Late Constable Kamlesh Kumari was martyred, first in the line of duty, in the 13th December 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament. She is also the first woman police personnel to be awarded the Ashok Chakra.]

On December 13, 2001, the Indian Parliament had been attacked by terrorists. The attack that day lead to the deaths of 9 people, including 6 Delhi Police personnel, 2 Parliament security personnel, and the gardener.

Among the martyrs was Constable Kamlesh Kumari Yadav, who served under the CRPF. She was posted at the Iron Gate 1 of the Parliament to watch and assist with visitors; this was the very gate through which VVIPs and Members of Parliament entered the premises. 

Constable Kumari was the first one to doubt the authenticity of the Lal Batti ambassador that had entered. Once she noticed that the car’s speed didn’t slow down, she was alert. On instinct and as a dutiful public servant, she rushed to seal the gate. 

An alert eye

The car was occupied by 5 armed men, and Kamlesh Kumari had no weapons to defend herself except for a walkie-talkie, but she blew up their covers, and immediately raised an alarm and rushed into warn fellow constable Sukhwinder Singh, who was armed at that time.

Her quick thinking and judgement to alert others helped in limiting the movement of the terrorists.  Before they could reach the house floor, she had raised the alarms, which led to quick mobilization of the other CRPF officials on duty. Because of her unshielded status, she was unable to defend herself, and became the first martyr to the violent shooting let loose by the terrorists. 

Not only did she protect India’s former Home Minister and Foreign Minister and the entire Parliament, she also stopped the suicide bomber from executing his plan.

A hero who leaves behind a grieving family

Kumari was born in Kannauj, and later moved to Delhi’s Vikaspuri with her family. She was survived by her two daughters Jyoti and Shweta, and her husband Avdesh Kumar.

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“Constable Kamlesh Kumari Yadav joined the CPRF in 1994 and was first posted with the elite 104 Rapid Action Force (RAF) in Allahabad. Soon after, she was posted at the 88 Mahila (Women’s) Battalion on 12 July 2001. Kumar became part of Bravo Company, the group tasked with securing Parliament when in session.” [Source: Indian Army]

In 2002, late Kamlesh Kumari became the first woman police personnel to receive the nation’s highest peacetime Gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra, by the president of India. On 2002 Republic day, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee also paid a tribute to her bravery and quick judgement. 

We must not forget the sacrifice and courage of Kamlesh Kumari

In 2006 though, the family members of 8 martyrs, including hers, returned their awards in protest. The reason of this protest being the delayed execution of Afzal Guru, the chief conspirator of the attack.

The families of martyrs had already been unhappy previously when Afzal’s family had submitted the clemency petition. The delay in his execution and fear of the clemency being granted made them return their medals— they believed their loved one’s sacrifices were being insulted.

In 2013, President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the clemency plea, and after the execution of Afzal on 30th March 2013, the family of the martyrs accepted the medals back in honour.

Constable Kamlesh Kumari was not only a brave woman who did her duty with diligence, but she also set an example that women in the gravest of situations think for the greater good, for the country.

We must not forget the sacrifice and courage of Kamlesh Kumari. And we should remember that she was unarmed in her job, hopefully, personnel in such high security roles are better able to protect themselves since 2001.

Image source: Indian Army and Daboost, edited on CanvaPro

  

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Aritra Paul

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