Chetan Kumar Cheetah, a decorated Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandant and the recipient of the Kirti Chakra award, known for his unmatched gallantry and extraordinary daredevilry against terrorists, has recently been critical after being infected with the Chinese coronavirus. He has been admitted to the intensive care unit(ICU) at AIIMS-Jhajjar in Haryana.
Though he had tested negative for the coronavirus last week, his condition, nevertheless, remained serious. After nine days, there was a temporary sense of reprieve when his condition improved and he was taken off the ventilator on Wednesday. However, the relief was short-lived as on Thursday morning his oxygen levels dropped to 94 levels and he was again put on a ventilator.
In a recent report in Times of India, AIIMS Jhajjar’s Covid care chief Dr Sushma Bhatnagar had informed that Cheetah is currently under high-flow oxygen. He is conscious and is able to communicate. He has also been taking semi solid food orally. The doctor said that of the soldier’s condition is showing good improvement.
The last few days have been a nightmare for the kin of Chetan Kumar Cheetah, who claimed the CRPF officer had no comorbidities and the only problem that is exacerbating his condition is his hand which took bullets during an encounter. Cheetah had survived a volley of 9 bullets during a counter-terror operation in Bandipora’s Hajin area on 14 February 2017.
In an interview with India Today, Cheetah’s wife expressed optimism over her husband making a full recovery from the grips of COVID-19. “I know he is a fighter. We cannot give up this fight. God cannot be so unfair. We need the nation’s prayers,” she said.
Unfortunately, their son has also tested positive for COVID-19.
The family was worried when Chetan’s oxygen levels dropped dramatically on May 9 and he was admitted to AIIMS Jhajjar for treatment. The family was eager to shift him to AIIMS Delhi or a top private hospital. CRPF took the case on a priority basis and consulted AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria on the same.
Dr Guleria assured the family that the CRPF officer was in good hands and shifting him amidst his treatment could prove injurious to his health.
Chetan Kumar Cheetah had sustained multiple bullet injuries in a gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir
Chetan Kumar Cheetah is one of the most decorated officers amongst the CRPF ranks. His battlefield heroics are the stuff of the legends which continues to inspire his colleagues and motivate his juniors, especially his miraculous survival from a near-fatal injury he suffered during a fierce gun battle in February 2017.
On February 14, 2017, security forces were carrying out a combing operation to weed out terrorists hiding in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora region. However, a gunfight ensued and Cheetah, Commandant of 45 battalion, valiantly fought the terrorists and ended up suffering 9 gunshots. The 45-year-old was riddled with bullets across his brain, right eye, abdomen, arms, left hand and in the back while fighting terrorists. He was in a coma for 1.5 months before he regained consciousness. For his bravery and courage, he was awarded Kirti Chakra in 2017.
Cheetah had also lost an eye in his encounter with the terrorists but this did not deter him from joining the armed forces again after making a full recovery. Just 13 months after the gruesome encounter, Cheetah was roaring to come back and assume his duty. His seniors thought it will take him a year or two to make full recovery but his spirits proved otherwise. Soon after his discharge from the AIIMS in 2017, Cheetah was reported to have expressed his interest in joining the CoBRA battalion, a special operation unit of the CRPF proficient in guerrilla tactics and jungle warfare.
In the aftermath of the February 2017 attack, one of the senior colleagues of the injured CRPF officer described the steely resolve and unwavering determination that characterised Chetan Kumar Cheetah. “At the base hospital in Srinagar, when I first saw his x-ray and other medical reports, I was shocked to see the way the bullet had pierced his skull and other parts of the body. He was badly wounded. But his determination achieved a miracle,” said Cheetah’s senior colleague Rajesh Yadav, Commandant of 161 Battalion of CRPF.
Cheetah, who hails from Rajasthan, had joined the CRPF in 1998. He soon rose through the ranks and became the Commandant of the 45th battalion of the CRPF and ever since he took over the reins of the battalion, the results were there for everyone to see. He participated in a host of terror encounters and achieved impressive results. He was also in the signals (technical) wing of CRPF besides CoBRA. He has undertaken some exemplary operations alongside the Army. Cheetah was a stickler for fitness and when involved in operations, he would busy himself spending hours in physical activity.
The nation prays for Cheetah’s speedy recovery.