GUWAHATI: A village, half of it burnt down, in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district is guarded 24×7 by BSF troops, making it one of the most protected places in the violence-hit state — all because of one special house there.
The house in Maphou village was home to BSF sub-inspector Paotinsat Guite, killed fighting the Pakistan army on the LoC in J&K on December 1, 2020. He was awarded a posthumous Kirti Chakra on Independence Day in 2022 for his bravery in foiling the Pakistan army attempt to push in terrorists.
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Maphou village is the last one remaining in the block — all the other nine have been razed to the ground.
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“Troops of 29 Bn BSF stationed at Maphou village have been successfully protecting the residence of SI Guite and will continue to do so. The village currently is abandoned except for some boys still guarding it. The elders and children have been shifted to a relief camp at Litan,” a BSF officer said.
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The soldier’s father, Tongjang Guite, who is at a relief camp, narrated how hordes of attackers swooped down on the village on May 30. “It was around 2pm when about 1,000 armed men dressed in black attacked our village after burning down nine others. We had already sent our women, children, and the old to safety. The BSF (which was deployed in the vicinity and knew that the village was of their fallen colleague) rushed in and drove away the attackers. But by then almost 50 houses had already been razed,” the 55-year-old said.
“It is so ironic. Just two years ago, the Manipur chief minister had honoured us at his bungalow as the family of a martyr and given us Rs 5 lakh assistance, and today we are victims of attacks, displaced from our home,” he said. Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh was in the BSF before he joined politics.
Paotinsat Guite, born October 26, 1994, graduated from BSF Academy Tekanpur in Gwalior in 2019 and joined the 59 Battalion at Rajouri the same year. He was killed the following year, on his first posting.
“He was sent to 3 Bump Forward Post as platoon commander. On the fateful day, the ambush party led by him came under attack from the Pakistan army, which was trying to push terrorists into Indian soil,” a BSF official said.
“Despite being grievously wounded, he exhibited raw courage and successfully neutralised one of the terrorists. After he was evacuated amid heavy firing from enemy posts, he was declared dead by a medical officer,” the official added.
The martyr’s widow, Hoineilhing Guite, a mother to two daughters (6 and 3 years old), told TOI she is proud of her husband’s sacrifice and has accepted his loss.
The 28-year-old Hoineilhing is in Mizoram for her daughter’s education. “Schooling is no longer an option in Manipur. I am in Aizawl but cannot find affordable accommodation. I wish the government would extend some kind of welfare accommodation,” she said.
She hopes normalcy will return soon so that she can complete one unfinished job back at her husband’s village. “His tomb is there in the village and, as per custom, if we don’t erect a memorial on the tomb, we have not done enough for our lost beloved. I was planning to put up his photo and a plaque with inscriptions of the supreme sacrifice he made,” she added.