New Delhi: Ten years ago they kept their vow to the country by securing Parliament from heavily-armed terrorists, but these security personnel are yet to keep a personal promise they made to their families.
The promise was to take their children and families to the same spot at Parliament where they eliminated five Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists on December 13, 2001.
"I have been asked umpteen number times by my children to take them to the place where I and my colleagues battled terrorists who attacked the Parliament. I don't know when will
I be able to fulfill the promise I made to them almost a decade ago," CRPF Head Constable D Santosh Kumar, who was awarded a 'Shaurya Chakra' for single-handedly killing three terrorists during the Parliament attack, said.
Kumar, who is now posted here with the bomb disposal squad of his force, said life has never brought him back to the place where he performed his life's defining moment.
"After the Parliament attack, I moved to Kashmir and then to the North East...wherever my force is. I didn't get anytime to plan and take my family to the place which has become the talking point in my life," Kumar, who has just finished his stint in anti-naxal operations in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada, said.
Six security men, four Delhi Police personnel and one each from CRPF and Parliament watch and ward staff were killed in the attack carried out in the winter of 2001.
Kumar's another colleague Sub-Inspector Y B Thapa says he still looks forward to have a posting at the Parliament House so that he can take his family and children to show what he did when "they were very young".
"Back in 2001 my children were very young and my family was away. They couldn't even understand what was all about the attack and the magnitude of that incident. But now they know the importance and prestige of the Parliament," Thapa, who was also awarded a 'Shaurya Chakra', said. "I hope someday I will again be posted to the Parliament House and I would tell my children what did I feel when I stood there. I would love to guard the Parliament again," Thapa said.
Avadesh Singh, whose wife Kamlesh Kumari was martyred in the attack, says his two daughters, even after a decade, have still not taken to the fact that their mother is gone from their lives forever.
"My elder daughter is in college while the younger one is in Class VII. They were very young when my wife who was a CRPF constable was martyred in the attack. They get emotional every time they see Parliament on the TV or somewhere...," said Avadesh, who runs a petrol pump in Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj.
The government had granted him the licence of the petrol pump in recognition of his wife's supreme sacrifice.
On the fateful day, all these security personnel had began their day on a usual note knowing little that it would be remembered for the attack on India's symbol of democracy -- Parliament.
"All of these personnel and their families have moved on...but the sight of impressive pillars, the dome and the facade of the Parliament brings back the memory of the valour," a senior security official who oversaw the Parliament security in 2001 said.