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22 Dec, 2019 03:34

‘It’s my 2nd life’: Indian officer says coin-filled purse saved his life after protester’s bullet pierced his body armor (PHOTO)

‘It’s my 2nd life’: Indian officer says coin-filled purse saved his life after protester’s bullet pierced his body armor (PHOTO)

A police constable in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, swept by violent protests against a citizenship law, said he narrowly escaped certain death after a bullet passed through his bulletproof vest but was stopped by a coin.

Vijender Kumar, 24, has been celebrating his “second life” after he was shot in the chest as protests against the citizenship law descended into violent clashes in the city of Firozabad on Friday.

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Protesters reportedly set at least six vehicles on fire, including police cars, while hurling stones at the officers, who responded with tear gas. One person was killed in the showdown, and two police officers, including Kumar, suffered bullet wounds. Twenty-five civilians were taken to the hospital, predominantly with injuries resulting from stone-pelting and about 30 police officers were hurt, according to police. 

Kumar said he was hit by a bullet after police, put on the defensive by the demonstrators, moved in to disperse the rally.

Amid heavy stone-pelting and firing, I had to chase the violent mob. The bullet escaped my heart by a whisker

While the officer was wearing protective body armor at the time, the vest failed to stop the live fire he said was coming from the protesters’ side.

Though the vest failed to protect me, my wallet, in which I had kept a picture of Lord Shiva and a few coins, saved me. It’s my second life and I’m thankful to God.

Protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which New Delhi says is aimed at the protection of persecuted minorities, have been marred by widespread violence, with opponents slamming the legislation as discriminatory towards Muslims. The unrest has reportedly claimed 22 lives across the country, including 15 in Uttar Pradesh.

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The Uttar Pradesh police chief reported Saturday that over 260 servicemen have been injured in the scuffles and arson attempts in the state.

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