One can never do a whole lot, unless they are brave enough to try. Sometimes, situations put you in a tight spot and give the option of running away, escaping but it is an equally big opportunity to be courageous. Everything was going as usual for Abhishek Patel, head constable of Surkhi police station in Sagar district, on August 25, when an anonymous call came in to ‘Dial-100’ at 12.50 pm.
All of a sudden lives of 400 kids were in his hands. The call tipped off the police that there was an unexploded artillery shell lying in the backyard of a middle school at Chitora village, Sagar.
Patel, without wasting a moment, flung into action and got the whole school evacuated. Meanwhile, what might seem like a scene directly from any bollywood movie, Patel’s presence of mind and exemplary courage gave way to an idea. He ran with the 10-kilogram shell and reached a remote drainage nullah to dump the explosive. He did not wait for his seniors, or the bomb diffusing team to arrive, and took this prompt action which could have killed him and left his children fatherless.
Later, on Sunday, army personnel of Mahar Regiment Centre in Sagar finally defused the shell. Patel was honored by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan at his residence in the capital for his brave act. Madhya Pradesh government gave him a cash prize of Rs 50,000 for the same. RS Bagir, in-charge of Surkhi Police Station, under which the school is located, is still clueless about how the shell reached on school premises. He says, since it was an old and unexploded one, it is possible that some villager might have brought it from a nearby army shooting range. Investigations are still on.
Picking up a live bomb of 10 kg and sprinting for a kilometre at their top speed is no ordinary feat. Rescuing lives of 400 kids by presence of mind, and deciding a safe place to dump it is laudable. Patel recalled his training session where he was told that area of almost 500 metre around the bomb will be destroyed if a bomb shell explodes. When he found that the Fast Response Vehicle of Surkhi Police Station station was around 5 km away from the schoo, Patel took the responsibility of saving hundreds of lives on himself.
“The faces of hundreds of innocent school children drove me to risk my life and remove the potentially dangerous shell from the school’s vicinity. I knew I couldn’t wait for the bomb squad.”
Since it was a residential area and a school compound, his only aim was to carry the bomb as far away as possible from there. Describing it as the best feeling of his life, Patel, a father of two, says the relieved students, who were scared earlier, came and thanked him, along with the teachers of the school.
While our society is plagued with selfish interests and apathy, such examples fill us with positivity and courage. Patel could have easily dodged this danger and washed away from any accountability but he went for the higher good. Kudos!