In a remarkable turnaround, Chetan Kumar Cheetah, a commandant of the Central Reserve Police Force, who miraculously survived nine bullet injuries after an encounter with militants in Jammu and Kashmir, has returned to the fold, reported the Times of India.
On Independence Day 2017, the President of India awarded Cheetah the Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry award. He is currently at the CRPF’s directorate at the national capital and awaiting a decision on his posting.
Speaking to the publication, officials at CRPF have said that Cheetah will not resume combat duties as he is still recovering. Until then, he will be confined to office work. “There are small issues (related to his health) which will take some time. But he is delighted to join back and is especially eager to go back to combat duties,” said Uma Singh, his wife.
Last February a militant attack in Bandipora district, Jammu and Kashmir, had left Chetan, who was then serving as Commanding Officer (CO) of CRPF’s 45th battalion, battling for his life.
Suffering fractured limbs and bullet injuries to the head, he was first taken to a military hospital for immediate assistance before being airlifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences trauma centre, where doctors performed life-saving surgery.
Within 24 hours of his arrival at the hospital, doctors performed a surgery to reduce the intra-cranial pressure where a portion of his skull was removed. Cheetah was in a state of coma for one and a half months before regaining consciousness. After he was discharged from AIIMS, Cheetah was desperate to rejoin the CRPF, seeking a posting with the CoBRA battalion, which fights Maoists in Chhattisgarh.
However, senior CRPF officials have said that Cheetah will require another two years before he can resume combat duties. Nonetheless, his determination to serve the nation serves as an inspiration to fellow CRPF personnel and youngsters looking to join the force.