New Delhi: A CRPF officer, who suffered severe IED splinter injuries and had slipped into coma for a month after an anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh's Sukma district, on Tuesday died at a hospital in Hyderabad.
The officer, Deputy Commandant BK Shyam Niwas, had been under intensive care of doctors due to grievous injuries on his head during an operation that took place on March 11.
"After showing signs of recovery, the officer eventually succumbed to injuries at around 8:30 am with his family by his side at a hospital in Hyderabad," a senior officer of the paramilitary said.
45-year-old Niwas, a veteran of numerous successful anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations, is survived by his wife, a teenaged daughter and son. He was airlifted after the blast from Sukma to Bhadrachalam and subsequently to Hyderabad.
The officer, hailing from Keshogiri in Ranga Reddy district of Andhra Pradesh, had joined the country's largest paramilitary in 1993 as a Sub-Inspector and rose through the ranks by way of getting out-of-turn promotions by the sheer dint of his dare-devil exploits in operations.
The incident in which Niwas got injured occurred under the Konta block of the worst Maoist violence affected Sukma district of the state when a squad of the 217th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force men were securing an under-construction road and subsequently some Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were recovered.
While the bomb disposal squad was trying to defuse it under Niwas's close supervision, the IED blasted causing serious injuries to him, his colleague and another Deputy Commandant Prabhakar Tripathi and Head Constable Ranga Raghavan.
Raghavan had succumbed to his injuries the same day when they were being evacuated to Hyderabad while Tripathi is stable now.
CRPF Director General K Durga Prasad described the slain officer a brave and gallant commander.
"His martyrdom is an irreparable loss to to the family and the force. The force stands by the aggrieved family in their hour of grief," he said.
CRPF said Niwas was a "gallant officer and he served with great distinction in Punjab, Northeast and Chhattisgarh and was involved in many successful operations against the Maoists.
"He achieved martyrdom leading one such operation. He was very popular amongst his peers and subordinates alike for his sense of responsibility and leadership traits."
A senior officer said IEDs have become a menace for security forces operating in Left Wing Extremism affected areas and Niwas's death is yet another example how the Maoists are using these hidden deadly bombs to maim and kill these personnel.
Parts of south Bastar in Chhattisgarh and other states have witnessed an increasing usage of IEDs since May last year.
Early this month, Naxals had used a deadly cocktail of IEDs, explosives and trigger wires to target a civil CRPF vehicle killing seven personnel in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.