February 14th is a day that Chetan Cheetah and his entire family will remember for life. His wife Uma Singh usually got a call from her husband at a specific time when they would spend time talking. Things that day were different. On the day of the encounter, Uma never got a call. With growing suspicion that something had gone wrong she called up the control room, who in turn told her that her husband had been injured.
Chetan Cheetah was fighting the foe behind enemy lines at a time when people usually start waking up from the slumber and start planning for the day. It was early morning.
A CRPF team was engaged in fierce gun battle with three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists in Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Three bravehearts were martyred and and one terrorist was eliminated. Cheetah in fact cheated death that day as well.
Chetan suffered injuries to his head, bilateral upper limbs, waist, and pelvic region, hands and lost his right eye.
Chetan Cheetah even fired 16 rounds even after sustaining injuries. For the uninitiated the man behind the taming of LeT commander Abu Musai was Chetan Cheetah.
His recovery in over 50 days has been attributed to his will power and determination to cheat death.
Cheetah a man whose grit compliments his name well has been involved in combat operations in Maoist areas while he was serving with the elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBra) force.
He was first taken to military hospital in Srinagar where medications were given to prevent bleeding. Airlifted to the AIIMS trauma centre in 24 hours a surgery was conducted to remove a portion of the skull to reduce intra-cranial pressure. Cheetah was put on heavy antibiotics to reduce infection.
Ophthalmologists took care and managed to save the left eye; orthopaedics worked on the fracture in the limbs while critical care experts planned his antibiotic therapy.
Being in coma and then coming out of it is a big deal according to medical experts. But in case of Chetan Cheetah, who faced nine bullets while on duty it was nothing short of a miracle when he spoke to media persons saying that – He is rocking and wants to join duty at the earliest.
Hajin in Bandipora is not alien to gunbattles but the story of Chetan Cheetah has caught the fancy of the average Indian fast. Chetan Kumar Cheetah slipped into coma two months ago after being hit by 9 bullets. He is now conscious and talking. He has now been discharged from the AIIMS Trauma Centre. He had several bigwigs visiting him while in hospital.
According to available figures the army has lost 26 soldiers in the line of duty in Jammu and Kashmir in the first two months of 2017. The security in a sudden beefed up aggression has killed 22 ultras in 50 days – touted to be the highest since 2010.
20 army personnel including an officer lost their lives in avalanches in the valley, six soldiers were killed during counter-insurgency operations.
More than 40 overground workers (OGWs) have been arrested since the start of this year.