It was a miraculous survival after being shot at nine times. Now, the brave military officer is back in action. Chetan Kumar Cheetah, the 45-year-old CRPF Jawan, who sustained nine bullet injuries during an encounter with terrorists resumed office after a year.
“I am proud to resume my duty again. It is good to be back,” Cheetah told India Today. “This is my second skin,” he told referring to the uniform. “I want youngsters to give 100 percent to the country, that’s what I have done. The duty which I had, I could have escaped, but instead, I faced the bullets,” he added.
Cheetah was awarded Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry medal during the last independence day celebrations. CRPF officials informed The Times of India that Cheetah would be given office related works since he had not completely recovered to go back to combat duties. They also said that Cheetah’s zeal to serve the nation was inspiring and the youngsters joining the military forces should learn from them. Cheetah also visited the CRPF Academy in Mount Abu to deliver a motivational speech, the report added.
“There are small issues (related to his health) which will take some time. But he is very happy to join back and is even eager to go back to combat duties,” Cheetah’s wife Uma Singh was quoted by The Times of India.
“It will take some time for the situation to settle down in Jammu and Kashmir. A soldier can only do that much. There has to be a strong political will. A military solution to Kashmir can be the only political solution to Kashmir’s problem,” Cheetah told India Today.
After discharged from AIIMS last year, Cheetah told media that he would like to join CoBRA battalion of CRPF which is engaged in fighting against Naxals.
Cheetah was the commanding officer (CO) of CRPF’s 45th battalion in Kashmir Valley and suffered bullet injuries in his right eye, brain, abdomen, arms, left hand and in the buttock region during an encounter against terrorists in Bandipora on February 14 last year. He was first taken to military hospital for immediate assistance and then shifted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences trauma centre. A portion of his skull was removed during the surgery. He was given heavy antibiotics to reduce infection. At least three soldiers and one militant were killed during the encounter.
Before regaining consciousness, he remained in a coma for almost 1.5 months. He was appreciated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat and heads of other forces. Doctors described his survival as ‘nothing short of a miracle’. His wife told The Times of India that along with the medical and surgical intervention, Cheetah’s willpower and penchant for fitness had helped him too. “He is a very determined person and a fitness freak. I always knew he would recover,” she said.
Cheetah is now undergoing massive physiotherapy to resume sensation in his hand. “My physiotherapy is going on. And, I am getting fit. If my force and my country want me to go back to the field and do operations. there will be no hesitation. My family is worried. My wife is worried. But, I know I would recover faster if I resume work,” he said.