It was early morning on September 15, 2019. Sergeant Md Shahidul Islam went to Abhaynagar Police Station in Jashore with members of the bomb disposal unit of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab-6).
Abhaynagar Police Station officials sought support to deactivate Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). Police recovered six IEDs during the investigation of a case.
Wearing a bomb suit and with necessary equipment, Shahidul got ready to respond to the call to deactivate IEDs. But he was facing difficulties touching the IEDs wearing bomb suit gloves, so he switched to regular gloves. At the beginning of the deactivating task, a bomb went off.
Shahidul fainted for a few seconds after being hit by a bomb splinter. When he regained consciousness, he saw that the wrist of his left hand was severed. He was taken to Jashore Combined Military Hospital (CMH) with his hand tied with a towel.
On the day, Bangladesh cricket team was playing an international match. Shahidul's first enquiry after being moved to a cabin from the operation room was about Bangladesh's performance in the match, despite undergoing complicated surgery.
Shahidul recalled how surprised the doctor was after hearing his question about the match.
He said, "Many people are victims of accidents and mutilation. I went to work for the country and became crippled. I am proud to have been able to work in service of the nation."
"We take an oath of self-sacrifice for the needs of the country during our training," Shahidul said.
"Even though I didn't understand the matter then, but I feel it now," he said.
Shahaidul thinks he survived the operation thanks to the bomb suit and iron block.
The good news is, after a long treatment, Shahidul is now somewhat healthy. Under the supervision of Rab, he has been given a prosthetic hand.
It works with a sensor that can reach forward through the veins on the upper arm, according to a Rab official.
Shahidul was recognised for his bravery and received the Bangladesh Police Medal (BPM). He also received financial support from Rab and Army Headquarters.
Due to his physical disability, the Army Military Medical Board recommended Shahidul to retire from the uniform service. However, according to the rules, the medical board has recommended his appointment as a civil staff of the army.
However, Shahidul decided to retire after 22 years of working. Yesterday was the last working day of Shahidul in Rab.
Shahidul said, "If I was physically fit, I might have gotten another rank. I could have served in the army for a few more years. But I am proud to be able to do something for my motherland."
"I am grateful to everyone for the respect I received from the army, police and Rab," he added.
Shahidul became teary-eyed while showing his artificial hand to this correspondent at the Rab headquarters yesterday.
Sergeant Shahidul Islam, hailing from Moulvibazar, joined the Bangladesh Army in 1999 as a soldier. His family members include his parents, his wife and seven-year-old daughter Meem.
He joined Rab for the first time in 2006 on deputation from the army. But he was sent on missions abroad that year. He rejoined Rab after returning in 2010.
Shahidul again went on a mission abroad in 2013, and returned the next year. He joined Rab for the third time in 2016. Most recently, he worked in the bomb disposal team of Rab-6, the unit that is responsible in defusing bombs in 21 southern districts of the country.