Fenil and Bollywood

Manoj Tiwari speaks on how he cheated death and escaped unhurt

Posted on: November 30, 2009

Manoj Tiwari recounts firsthand his experience of a near kidnapping and subsequent escape on Saturday

As told to Kunal M Shah (MUMBAI MIRROR; November 30, 2009)


I had gone to Tirtanr, a village in Jharkhand to campaign for my close friend, Vinod Sinha. We had gone to Tirtanr from Dhanbad in a chopper and were supposed to return the same way. But, a snag in the chopper’s fuel tank discovered just before we boarded on the way back meant I had to come back some other way as I had professional commitments in Mumbai.

I opted to go from Tirantr to Kolkata by road from where I would take a flight to Mumbai. I left Tirtanr with a close friend Rajkumar Shrivastava and my driver. As the route from Tirantr to Kolkata is akin to a base camp for the Naxals, I asked for some security.

The cops joined the convoy two kilometres before the place of the attack. It was around 11.25 in the night when we saw a huge red divider kept right in the middle of the road. I am told that it’s a Naxal sign. The cops immediately told us to lie down in our van. They said that the place was the abode of naxals. They asked the driver to drive as fast as possible through the divider.

The people who laid the trap didn’t know that there were cops in our midst. This served us well as they were not prepared for any retaliation on our part. I was lying down in the car with my eyes shut. I could hear the bullets. It was like being in a war zone, I was completely shaken.

The cops called the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force). To be safe, we had to reach a police chowky which was about five kms away. A few cops from that chowky had rushed to our aid. When we reached the chowky, the cops who were being updated on their walkie-talkies said that the Naxalites were angered by my escape, they would strike back. They believed that the chowky could be attacked.

By then, three vehicles of CRPF with about 25 soldiers each arrived. They said that they would escort me to a safe location. I was taken to Dhanbad in one of those vehicles, with one preceding us and the other following.

The first thing I did after reaching a safe spot was to call my wife. She was extremely worried. I then spoke to my eight-year-old daughter. She asked me if my plane was hijacked.

My conversation with these soldiers and my first hand experience of the perils they face is something I will never forget. I am still upset and scared.

I want to thank the almighty God and the soldiers who risked their life to take me out from the jaws of death. If not for them, I would not be speaking to you. It was the most scary and dreadful experience of my life.

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