A Frame Lost Forever: Bablu Santra with wife Mita and daughter Piyali in a file photo.
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Howrah: The death toll in the terror attack on CRPF convoy at Pulwama in Kashmir on Thursday have touched 40 and the casualties may go up further as some injured soldiers are in fragile condition.

But it is not only about the numbers! It is about many a dream that has been shattered and families that have been ruined forever by the ghastly attack.

Bablu Santra, the 39-year-old head constable with CRPF’s 35 Battalion, was one such young man from Howrah’s Uluberia who wanted to spend more time with his family.

The family that includes his septuagenarian mother Banalata Santra, wife Mita Santra who is in her late 20’s, daughter Piyali who has just started attending primary school, and a 20-year-old brother who is still into studies.

Bablu lost his father in childhood and had to join the family profession of fish vending when in high school. Wading through the odds, with the constant encouragement from his widow mother, he completed higher secondary studies.

Bablu wanted to study further so that he is not required to sell fish anymore. He enrolled for a BA course at the Uluberia College in the year 2000. But due to financial constraints, was looking for a job as well.

Call it destiny that he got selected for CRPF general duty that year itself and left studies midway to become a soldier. In a few years, Bablu got a promotion to the post of head constable.

A CPI-M rally in Kolkata on Friday evening against Pulwama terror attack.

But he was planning to opt for voluntary retirement so that he can stay with his aged mother and growing up daughter.

His wife Mita was also not willing to live in the perpetual anxiety given the frequent terror attacks that CRPF faces in different parts of India.

“Bablu had come home about two months ago on a vacation and had told the family that he will opt for VRS next year. He was planning to start a business in Uluberia with the savings made from his salary,” said a relative, who turned up at the martyr’s residence at West Bauria village on Friday.

Ever since hearing about Bablu’s death, his mother Banalata and widow Mita are speechless.

His daughter Piyali is yet to comprehend the depth of the tragedy but given the crowd of neighbours, relatives, political leaders and journalists in their house, the little girl realises something grave has happened.

Bablu’s widow Mita is wailing all the time, occasionally recalling that he had called her up the last time on Thursday morning while on the convoy to Srinagar. He had promised that from next year he will stay with the family permanently.