4-month-old daughter, a promise to his father – what slain soldier from Odisha leaves behind
Lance Naik Debashish Biswal, who died in Thursday’s terror attack in J&K’s Poonch, leaves behind a four-month-old daughter and a promise he made to his father – that of a new home at Algum village in Odisha’s Puri district.
Debashish, 32, is among the five soldiers who were killed in the attack on an Army vehicle.
He got married a year ago, on May 4 – the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, which falls on Saturday this year. Fondly called ‘Sahitya’ among residents of his village, he was ecstatic when he became a father on January 1 this year. He had thrown a community feast 21 days after his daughter’s birth, which also happened to be the last time he visited home.
“He had promised to come home next month (May), but that day will never come. I still can’t believe that my Sahitya is no more,” his father Pratap Biswal said, trying to hold back tears.
Pratap was the one who gave Debashish the nickname Sahitya, while his younger son Debaprasad was fondly called Vigyan. “Since his childhood, my son wanted to join the Army and serve the motherland. Since I am a poor farmer and had no money to send my son to a coaching centre, I would pray before Lord Loknath to fulfil his dream,” said Pratap.
Debasish last called his wife Sushree Sangita at 10.38 am on Thursday to enquire about their daughter. Sushree works as an instructor at the Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Puri.
He joined the Rashtriya Rifles in 2013 as a general duty soldier and became the first member of his family to have a government job. He would call his parents every day.
“Whenever we were worried over his posting in Jammu and Kashmir, he would tell us not to worry, and say Jammu is as normal as Odisha. He would say Kashmir is a troubled area, not Jammu,” said his father.
According to villagers, since his student days, Debasish always stood first in sports. “Whenever he visited the village, he would take the lead in carrying out social work. Even during the flood and the cyclone, he inspired others to carry out relief works,” said Dilip Biswal, his cousin.
On Friday, a steady stream of visitors came to console the family. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too expressed his condolences over Debashish’s death. Taking to Twitter, Patnaik said his sacrifice for the safety of the country will always be remembered.