The news that the state Chief Minister Pratap had plans to come to the Sanctro Sanctorum, to pay respects and to pray for the evil deeds of the killers of the bus passengers had been telecast by the evening news bulletin. The newsreader also mentioned some of the names of the state officers who will be accompanying him to the most sacred shrine. The intended target’s name though was not mentioned.  It was unlikely that he will not be there. He was the in charge of the entire area and the security of the very important dignitaries will have to be handled by him personally. He knew that these were not the times to depend on the customary posse of a few policemen posted within the area only.

General Durjan was fully convinced, “It is definite that he will come. Your prey will accompany the troupe. We will not find a better chance to get him. You should be fully prepared to make the best use of this opportunity. He has been dispatched to you by the God himself. Can there be better signal than the fact that the sacred forces themselves are bringing forth the target to your fort”.  He had called on him in the evening to break news to him in person.

“But the security cover for the chief minister and his officers will be too alert and sensitive to any attack. How do you expect to reach him when covered by so many guns totting soldiers? I will rather look for a situation when we can get him alone”, he told General Durjan.

“The carrying of the arms by the security forces in this holy place is considered irreverent. We can assure you that it is not only our marked target but even the others can also be getting rid of.  However as you know the great priest Rajamantran is very conscious of protecting the innocents.  We will ensure you have to make use of only a single bullet to get only our wanted criminal man. We are not interested to harm even a fly beyond that”.

It sounded strange justice to him.  Yet the religious jurisprudence was beyond him. “So why should I waste time and brains on what can not be explained and understood.”

He spent his entire next day in locating the spot from where he will take a pot shot at the target and at the same time will be able to immediately vanish and mingle into the surging crowds which will be there at the time of most auspicious New Year day. The farmers from around many of villages will be coming for the Holy Communion to this place on that day.

General Durjan knew from his experience how a sniper operates. He did not want to waste the young man’s life and skills after a single job. Such committed youngsters are quite rare and if utilized in the right manner can yield much bigger advantage to the cause. They have to be trained to give themselves completely to a single mission in their life.  Even though this boy started with a mission to make the extra money, he had the mercenary zeal and the spirit to do or die for his mission. Such impossible to find trait must be honored, nurtured and protected.  Their suicidal tendency though must be curbed. Because for them a failure to accomplish what they set out for often results into loss of self respect. In such an event of failure the ultimate result brings a self inflicted death by such intense personality. Many a great men have laid their lives cheaply for want of any anchor that could nurture their talent. General Durjan knew if their mission of complete freedom has to spread to the grass roots, boys like Ranjit Sehgal will have to be turned into formidable foes to the opponents of the duty. Though the arms  couriers were available a dime a dozen, the willingness to die for protecting the consignment meant for the cause will come only after each worker has been fully involved in some subversive activity that could act as a deterrent to his moving away from them. As only then he will feel a part of the activity. This is like unleashing the first volley of bullets into the enemy territory by the soldier.  Thereafter he gets into the thick of war.  It becomes too late for him to look back.  He either has to fight it out and come back alive or he may fall a victim to the enemy fire and be declared a martyr. This makes a game of psychological warfare a win win situation either way for him. This human weakness has often been exploited to the hilt by General Durjans of all warrior tribes ever since the beginning of human history. The sharing of the exploits of the loot though from the wars initially were strong incentives and motivations to volunteer for the battles; but it takes lot of courage to shoot and kill the first enemy.  Any General who can get his army’s soldier does that; can only come out as a winner. He too wanted to come out a winner even though he knew from day one, “it was too difficult a task”.

General Durjan after the thorough debugging and sanitation of the shrine’s outer areas, zeroed down on the spot where Ranjit will go into hiding. One of the three ancient pillars situated within the shrine premises was under repairs. The sand bags and the wooden planks were still strewn around on the narrow stairs leading to the upper stories of the pillar. The security in charge had asked the laborers employed on the job to repair the pillar,   to remove the same so that nothing could be hidden in the bags or wooden logs.  He had some how overlooked the temporary wooden platform erected by the workmen to carry out the repairs on the upper outer walls of the pillar. The wooden platform directly looked over the periphery of the sanctum sanctorum. Yet if some one hid on the platform; he could not be seen by any one from the ground below. Ranjit who had dressed himself as a workman joined the laborers to remove the material as directed by the security- in- charge. He stayed back waiting for the target to appear. The others laborers came back from the stairs after their repair job was done. He was hidden from the world below but he had to lie still lest any of his movement could be felt or heard by the people down there.