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A hard day's work for bomb squad hero

A hard day's work for bomb squad hero

Author: Prashant Dayal
Publication: The Times of India
Date: July 28, 2008

Officer Yadav Has Defused 300 Bombs

The job offer came when his father, a cop himself, died with his boots on. That was in 1995 when Rakesh Yadav had barely entered the Gujarat police force. His family told him to reject the offer to join the bomb disposal squad.

Having lost her husband, his mother was averse to the idea of her son, now the sole bread-winner, taking up such a high-risk job. But Rakesh had a penchant for adventure from an early age. His family gave in finally and Rakesh, now 37, has been at it ever since.

Today, as the head of the bomb squad of the Gujarat police, he has to his credit the disposal of nearly 300 bombs in the last 13 years. He is considered a guru by his team-mates.

On Sunday morning, Yadav was at work again. He was called to the Hatkeshwar circle by a social worker who spotted a bomb inside a dustbin. Yadav successfully defused the timer-bomb and then touched the earth in front of him to thank the Almighty. It was yet another mission successfully done.

His family used to pray whenever he used to undertake risky assignments. "Now, they are confident I will return alive after a hard day's job," he said.

He displayed rare courage in 1998 when a live bomb was detected inside Natraj Cinema. He put on his bomb suit, wrapped the bomb in a blanket and hugged it to his chest. He then walked out, as softly as possible, from the cinema hall. He got a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh from the then police commissioner for this recue act.

There was no looking back. He has defused countless bombs since then. In 2002, when tiffin-bombs blew up on board AMTS buses, a colleague lost two fingers while handling a bomb rather recklessly. "We all know the risks involved, one mistake and boom."

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