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Pusthomous award for Meghalaya Policeman
SHILLONG, AUG 17 (Correspondent):
Published on 17 Aug. 2008 10:24 PM IST
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On learning that their son the late Raymond P Diengdoh, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in the Meghalaya Police, was posthumously conferred the nation's highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashoka Chakra, his parents have said despite their indescribable abiding loss, the preeminent act of valour of their son is an enduring source of moral strength for them. It may be recalled that DSP Diengdoh died as a result of mortal wound in an encounter with a joint group of ultras consisting of elements from proscribed militant outfits the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The armed clash took place in the Paham-Umdoh area of the Ri-Bhoi District of Meghalaya on November 7 last year. In the gun-fight that ensued, an HNLC cadre was also killed while two others were apprehended. Diengdoh is the first Ashoka Chakra awardee from Meghalaya and North East in general. The posthumous conferring of the nation's highest peacetime gallantry award, usually the preserve of the army, is a recognition of the valour and selfless sacrifice of Diengdoh will continue to be an inspiration to the Meghalaya Police. Though, Meghalaya police personnel have unfailingly figured every year in the Nation's honour list, this, however, is the first time that such a prestigious award is conferred on a police officer of the state albeit posthumously. "His untimely death while on the line of duty will not go in vain. His exemplary valour and self sacrifice is an enduring inspiration not only to me, but to his comrades in the Meghalaya Police as well," Saphimosha Blah, the widow of Diengdoh said. Expressing pride for her late husband receiving the prestigious award, she philosophically referred to his untimely death as "a personal sacrifice for me." She recalled how on that faithful day, on sustaining fatal injury, earnest effort was made to rush her husband to the nearest military hospital which was in Guwahati in Assam. But since the journey was arduous and rugged her spouse succumbed to his injuries before he could reach the hospital. The last time her husband spoke to her, Ms Blah recalled, was on the previous evening while he was proceeding to confront the militants who had holed in deep in the jungles some distance away from Nongpoh the district headquarters'. "He gave me no inkling on the serious nature of his mission. All he said was he was going on duty," Blah recalled little realizing that that would be the last time she would speak to him. When asked whether she was ready to forgive those militants responsible for the tragic and untimely demise of her husband, she said "it was not for me to forgive them. Being rational beings they should examine their conscience…," she said. Blah, currently serving as a lecturer in St Mary's College, Shillong, has also described militancy as "a futile exercise" which will lead those who indulge in it nowhere. She attributes the high drop out rate in schools as one of the reasons which drive youth to militancy. "Without education the power of reasoning suffers," she said adding "only education can provide answers to problems." Likewise, Raymond's parents - Philip Basaiawmoit and Annabel Diengdoh - said, "Though the memories of loss bring back tears, we are happy at the moment over his achievements". After the death of their only son, their daughter Evagracia Deingdoh joined the police to accomplish the unfinished task of her brother. "If we had one more son, we would have also asked him to join the police department to fight against militants and anti- social elements, but nonetheless our daughter would accomplish the unfinished task of her brother,"Basaiawmoit said. Basaiawmoit, however, when asked, said that he is ready to forgive the militants, provided that they can bring back normalcy and peace in the state so that all the people of the state can live safely.

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