Slain SP had survived two Naxal attacks, won 2 gallantry awards

Facing Naxal attacks was not new to Superintendent of Police Vinod Kumar Choubey. A few years ago, he had been shot at and injured by Maoists in Balrampur in Chhattisgarh's Sarguja district, bordering Jharkhand. Later, as SP, Kanker, he survived a Naxalite ambush in the state's tribal Bastar region.

So when he heard Naxals had killed two policemen in the remote forest area of Madanwada in Rajnandgaon on Sunday morning, the officer reacted as he had always been known to do: personally lead his men into battle. It was to be the last of his many fearless campaigns.

Choubey, SP, Rajnandgaon, twice winner of the President's Police Medal for Gallantry, perished along with 23 of his men in a massive Maoist attack at village Kerketti, close to Chhattisgarh's border with Maharashtra.

The 49-year-old IPS officer left behind his wife Ranjana and son Swamil, who is studying to be an engineer.

Choubey, the son of parents who came to settle in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh from Bihar's Bhojpur district, taught chemistry at the CMD Girls College in the town before joining the state police service of undivided Madhya Pradesh as a deputy superintendent in 1983. In 1996, he was selected for the Indian Police Service.

Choubey's father Dwaraka Prasad Choubey was a senior journalist who worked for a Nagpur-based English daily before starting his own newspaper, Bilaspur Times the first eveninger in Bilaspur division in 1975.

"During his days as a lecturer, V K Choubey used to spend time at the newspaper office. He was a shy person and we never thought he would join the police. But he turned out to be a very active officer who mostly served in Naxalite areas," said Bilaspur-based journalist Habib Khan, who used to work with Dwaraka Prasad Choubey.

Chhattisgarh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh, Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar, PWD Minister Brijmohan Agrawal, Leader of Opposition Ravindra Choubey, DGP Vishwaranjan and other senior officers paid homage to the IPS officer and other slain security personnel at a commemoration at the police grounds today. Choubey's body was later flown to the state capital Raipur, where it was cremated with full state honours.

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