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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rukhsana and Mumbai’s shame

Times Of India
Thursday October 01, 2009

Tarun Vijay

At the very outset I would like to lodge a strong protest against the display of the pictures and videos of the three unfortunate ladies who were victims of their so-called protector for seven years. I wouldn’t mind if the husband’s pictures were displayed but why show the deeply pained ladies? That’s like putting their agony on public display.

Insensitive and unbecoming of the Mumbai media which had otherwise shown great restraint on many other unhappy occasions. Sometimes words are more powerful than pictures and if the journalists find it hard to express the agony of people like of these three through the power of the words, they should rather join Mumbai Municipal Corporation than advertise visuals of helpless people subjected to indescribable torture. The man, (really?) must be given an exemplary punishment and I am sure Mumbai has a heart that will take care of the traumatized three and find a way to rehabilitate them.

Now I must come to the principal theme of this piece. It’s something about an extraordinary happening in the region of the Mother, the Shakti, in Jammu, at another end of India’s tricoloured territory. There we found a tale of great courage in Rukhsana as a daughter of Mother India. The dreaded terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba came to her house and accused the family of acting as Indian informers. The ‘punishment’ for that, according to their kangaroo psyche would be death. Her story, she created it at the age of 21, is perfect material for our school curriculums and a sensible movie

Are we exaggerating her act of heroism? It's true that in such circumstances everyone must be so brave and courageous and hence why should we go to town with her action as something extraordinary? After all, she was supposed to do what she did as an Indian citizen? Right, we shouldn't 'overdo' but we should also not 'underrate' either!

If she is just another story of rural bravado, shouldn't the same yardstick be applied to those whom we decorate with Bharat Ratna, Padma awards or Param Vir Chakras? In times of treason and terror and traumatization of a society, her act stands in a different category and hence the appreciation too must match her scale of bravery.

She, as news reports say, now fears for her life and also for the lives of her family members. It will be a defeat for the Indian state if she is attacked or any terrorist finds it easy to take revenge on her family. She represents the battle of India against the antinational traitors and has justifiably become a hero in our eyes. Her region comprises of the worst terror-affected places like Kishtwar, Bhadrawah, Doda and Rajouri. These are a difficult hilly terrain,with hardly any road and communication facilities. I had been to these areas after the dreaded Doda masscre of the Hindus and found state apparatus unwilling to reinforce confidence amongst Hindus and Muslims against terror groups.

Terrorists have been trying to create a wedge between Hindus and Muslims with help from seperatist politicians of the valley. Though the statistics of the terror-struck families show Muslims being killed by Islamic terrorists in big numbers. The jihad which began essentially as a war against Hindus has started annihilating its own like we see in Pakistan. A state that was created for Muslims has been seeing barbaric treatment to Muslims in the name of an Islamism nobody understands. Stoning of women, preventing them from getting higher education, and declaring Ahemadias and Qaudianis as non-Muslims are a few instances, apart from an intense and violent hatred between Shias and Sunnis.

In this scenario Ruksana stands as a small but significant victory post of the Indian state’s pluralism and egalitarian firmness. She is a statement of Indianism that exhibits patriotism with pride. Islamist terrorists have been raping, killing and mutilating faces of Muslim women in J&K but none of the so-called advocates of the Muslim cause have ever taken up their cases for the fear of the terrorists’ guns. Parallel to the Shopian incident in Kashmir, in a horrifying incident two women were summarily executed by LeT terrorists. It drew absolutely no protest or even an appropriate mention in the Kashmiri press.

Praveen Swami wrote in one of his scintillating articles (June 2009), “Early this month, Nigeena Awan was dragged out of her home at Kellar, Kashmir, beaten up and executed with an assault weapon from point-blank range. Her father, Mohammad Sharif Awan, was ordered to bury his daughter without ceremony; the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, which carried out the execution, also warned neighbours against dignifying her death with last rites. But violent death has visited the Shopian area often, for the most part without drawing comment. In April, 60-year-old Reshma Awan, like Nigeena Awan a member of the Gujjar pastoralist community, was executed by the Lashkar-e-Taiba at Pahlipora. Her son, Mohammad Aslam Awan, was shot and seriously injured while attempting to protect her. Last month, Dachnoo resident Mohammad Saifuddin was killed similarly. And a day after Nigeena Awan was murdered, unidentified men shot dead shopkeeper Mohammad Abdullah Gela at his Sangarwani home.”

In many such incidents victims are Muslims but the secular state and the leaders find it easier to raise their voices, often on half-baked facts or complete falsehood against the army and other security personnel and keep a mummified silence on the atrocities of the Islamic terrorists. Hardly a single Muslim leader from the valley orfrom Delhi 's secular polity has raised any voice against the communally hateful and antinational terror groups but cases like Shopian are dragged for months for the simple purpose of arousing passions against the Indian state.

The time has come when the sham exercises to please separatist tendencies among any community, like instituting a Sachar committee and reservation on the religious basis should be shunned. India must stand on an Indianism that looks at all citizens equally irrespective of their colour or creed. Rukhsana has attained a status befitting the national heroes dwarfing the sultans of Delhi. Separatists whether in Srinagar or Silchar, grow on the incompetence of politicians and cowardice of their cohorts. If a just and fair policy is persued and antinationals are treated by the state power exactly the way Rukhsana treated, we would not be seeing the repeat of 26/11 or none would dare to insult the tricolour in the valley paving the way for the Kasmmiri Hindus to return to their sweet home.