Three Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel who helped reunite a stranded 70-year-old man with his family in Karnataka after about three decades have been awarded the top commendation of the paramilitary for undertaking the humanitarian task.
The decorated troops, posted with the 36th Battalion of the border guarding Force at Lohaghat in Uttarakhand, chanced upon Kenchappa Govindappa at a roadside eatery in nearby Chalti village of the State when one of them stopped there for refreshments early this year.
Constable Riyaz Sunkad noticed the precarious condition of the septuagenarian and described the incident to his two seniors in the battalion who also hailed from Karnataka- Head Constables Premananda Pai and Sharana Basava Ragapur.
Pai and Ragapur later went to the eatery as they were also proceeding on leave. The duo found the old man was in a bad physical shape and was in an emotional shock as he was lost for years and could not get in touch with his family or relatives.
The man was unable to communicate his plight to the locals as he was conversant only with Kannada and did not know Hindi. He used to sleep at a bus stop behind the eatery even during winters.
The two ITBP jawans sought more information from the eatery owner and were informed that Kenchappa had come to this location on a truck many years back and that he was not paid any money.
For survival, the man helped in the daily chores of the eatery owner in lieu of food.
The two Head Constables later made a video with the man at the eatery and uploaded it on social media platforms like Facebook following which they received a call from an advocate who knew Kenchappa’s family that lived in Kalghatagi village of Dharwad district in Karnataka.
The two ITBP men then embarked on an over 2,000 km journey to Karnataka before taking Kenchappa to Delhi where he was lodged in a hotel, got him a good bath and shave, bought new clothes for him and got into a train to Karnataka.
The two ITBP personnel handed him over to his family who were elated to see him.
Kenchappa had six children, four sons and two daughters, and he had left his home sometime in 1991 in search of a job.From Karnataka, he probably reached Maharashtra and later to Chalti in Uttarakhand where he suffered penury for three decades.
The ITBP headquarters in recognition of this humanitarian deed early this month awarded the Director General commendation role and silver disc insignia, meant for rendering exceptional service, to the three personnel who joined the paramilitary force around 2002-2003.
According to the citation, they were awarded the top category force honour “for exemplary humane approach and a great sense of responsibility by reuniting an old man with his family by taking him from Chalti to Dharwad”.
“The force is proud of the three men who did a humanitarian task beyond the call of their official duty and reaffirmed the values that the force stood for,” said ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey.
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