The Day The State Split Asunder - 6
The Day The State Split Asunder - 65 mins 220 5 mins 220
The sun descended. Arjun and his team ate the lunch which was prepared by the villagers. All four completed eating fast and later Arjun and Sudhakar assembled at the northern point.
As planned, Nagesh pulled off the fuse from the transformer and the entire village became dark. His remaining team members clandestinely entered the village and assembled at the northern side where Sudhakar and Arjun were already waiting for them.
'Irfan and Narsingh you will be in the south,' Arjun began briefing, 'Vikram and Avinash, you will be in the east along with Sudhakar. I will be on the top floor of this temple. I request everyone to keep a warning gun along. We have to be careful and ensure that none of these innocent villagers gets attacked.'
Afterwards, Nagesh placed the fuse back in its place and they all hid at their respective assigned points. Arjun collected a few withered twigs and made a campfire to beat the cold winds. The old man who welcomed Arjun and his team in the morning walked toward them and asked if they needed anything.
'Do you people need anything more? Don't feel shy,' asked the old man.
'I want to have a word with you in private,' Arjun said to the old man. He thought it would be better to tell the old man the truth.
Sudhakar and Arjun took the old man to one corner behind the ruined wall of one house.
'Sir, we are not any tourists. We are police and we came here on duty,' said Arjun.
'I know,' replied the old man with a smile, 'I learned when I looked at you for the first time. I will provide all the help I can. Tell me what you want me to do?'
'For the time being all I want from your side is I don't want any member of your village to roam on streets,' Arjun said.
'Don't worry. Everyone here sleeps by eight.'
'Thank you so much!'
The old man went back into his hut. Sudhakar and Arjun sat along with their team to have dinner. The entire team completed their meals in ten minutes. Tensed about the impending threat, there was a deflated expression on everyone's face.
Cold waves wafted down the village and the faint street light provided enough light to look at the distance not exceeding ten metres. Everyone clamped the Bluetooth headsets on their ears. Sudhakar along with three members scrambled towards the east of the village and hid behind the wall of the demolished structure. They placed two members at the North entrance of the village.
'Someone is coming…' Nagesh transmitted the message to Sudhakar through his Bluetooth headset.
'Get ready boys. Let us catch him as soon as he comes near the well,' Arjun said.
The team could intercept two black figures walking towards the well. One person turned on the flashlight and scanned the area around. Moments later, he began removing the garments on his body except for the boxers.
Sudhakar along with his team neared the well and stood ten feet behind him. He looked broad and tall. They tried to catch the glimpse of another person beside them and happened to see that he was none other than 'Ganganna'.
'Don't move,' said Sudhakar in a chilling tone, 'Sit down! I will not repeat it again!'
On his hands and knees, the man froze and shot a baleful glance in their direction. Praveen and Nagesh took hold of Ganganna.
'Who are you?' Sudhakar asked the man, 'Where are your other team members?'
'I am innocent sir,' the man stammered, 'I do not understand what you are talking about?'
'You are lying!' yelled Sudhakar.
The man stared at him, perfectly immobile except for the fear in his ghostly eyes. Instantly, with his eyes wide open and taking in a deep breath, he began shouting - 'Police! Police! Police!'.
He then took out a small knife from his boxer and stabbed it hard on Nagesh's neck and started running away from them at full pelt.
Sudhakar scrambled forward, firing his pistol while missing two bullets in the dark and landed the third shot into his chest. Two gunshots were fired in reply by the intruders. One bullet shattered the cement wall of the well. Helter and Skelter, Sudhakar and his team ran for cover.
'Incoming attack! Arjun! Arjun! We lost Nagesh!' Sudhakar informed Arjun.
A group of five assailants with masks on their faces dashed towards the place where Arjun and his team settled and in a flash attacked them with a powder bomb.
'Everyone run! Hide!' shouted Arjun.
Everyone started running with panting breaths and ducked themselves behind the walls of the ruined buildings. The attackers vanished from the spot by cutting into the streets.
Arjun scrambled onto the first floor of the temple, took out his AK47 from the groove.
'Sudhakar…' Arjun spoke through his Bluetooth device, 'there is no case of arrest. Let us kill them one by one. You are on the eastern entry, right?'
'Come running in the direction of the temple.'
Sudhakar transferred all his strength to his legs and began running in the tower's direction. An attacker emerged from one of the ruined houses carrying a hammer in his hand and began running back at him.
'Arjun! One attacker is following me!'
'Keep running…' Arjun insisted
Sudhakar came into his sight. Out of nowhere two more started running towards him.
'Two are heading towards me!'
'LIE DOWN!' shouted Arjun.
Sudhakar stopped and bent low, touching his knees to the ground.
Arjun closed his left eye and with his finger on the trigger, he made sure his right eye and the vent of the gun were aligned to the targets. He fired three shots and in short, all three attackers fell dead on the ground.
'They are dead!' said Sudhakar.
'Good! Just remain there,' Arjun spoke, still frozen in his shooter's stance. 'Irfan and Madhu wherever you are, run towards the temple tower and fire the warning gun before you begin.'
Seconds later two flares rose into the sky in the west direction. Arjun oriented himself in that direction. Irfan and Madhu surfaced on his radar. Two assailants started following them.
'DOWN!' relayed Arjun.
Irfan and Madhu stopped and froze on their knees. Arjun fired two shots and killed the attackers following them.
'Irfan and Madhu come straight and take left, you will see Sudhakar, Everyone assemble at that place…' he spoke, continuing in his shooter's stance.
Everyone gathered at the spot where Sudhakar stood. Arjun climbed down and raced towards the spot carrying a rifle in his hand. The team split into groups of three, each comprising three members. Each team cut into three different directions. In fifteen minutes after intense shelling, they killed all the assailants. They placed the dead bodies side by side in a row.
It moved everyone to tears, looking at the dead body of their fellow police officer Nagesh, who was with all of them just an hour ago.
'Arjun, why do people like us have to sacrifice?' Sudhakar broke down in tears.
'You should not ask this question?' said Arjun.
'Because you are a police officer. And right on the day of our joining we take an oath that we will give our life for our duty.'
Arjun then conveyed the updates to the control room and in minutes the police vehicles and ambulances arrived at the encounter spot. The medical officials carried the dead bodies to the nearby government hospital for an autopsy, and Arjun along with the remaining team started to Visakhapatnam.
An investigation was held the following day under the authority of the Director-general of Police and Greyhounds commissioner. Arjun gave them the entire sketch of events beginning from their entry to exit. Later based on the witness accounts and informer Ganganna's confession they finalized that there was nothing wrong with Arjun and his team.
The DIG appreciated Arjun and his team for completing the mission and expressed his condolences for the death of commando Nagesh. The informer Ganganna was given a job as a home guard.
'Arjun,' said the DIG, 'calculating all the efforts you had put in to serve your duty with great care and concern, you have been promoted to the position of Circle-Inspector for Madhapur Police Station, Hyderabad. Report to commissioner P V Anand on the day of your joining.'