I have a story. Do you have one?
THIS ONE IS BROUGHT TO YOU THROUGH THE COURTESY OF JKP BAMBOO STICK MANUFACTURERS. IT’S HOT! NARRATES MUHAMMAD FAHEEM-UL-ISLAM
Sunday afternoon. Second day of Eid. ‘Tring tring’. This journalist receives a call. “Your relative is injured!” “His forehead is stitched on the left side!” “If possible come to see him.” The call drops. The situation around is tense. No men, no machine. Just cops. Barbed wires. Clashes- one on one, many on one, ton on ten!
The journalist makes a call back soon after mid-day prayers and enquires about the reason. To his surprise, the injury is not due to protests, clashes or street violence. This time it is ‘domestic violence’!
Freak! Domestic violence? The forgotten tale? How did that resurface? He asks himself. How come these days people resort to, what he believes, the worst of all social evils? How would a son ask his father his share from their property? And hit him with anything from the kitchenware? He is just shocked to hear this, that too from the lady herself whose husband commits the sin. The lady who is never in favour of acts like that and who believes that such people need proper counseling and moral guidance by everyone, just. The journalist laments. Again questions his subconscious. How would an educated son think of living separately, having his own house with less or no communication with his relatives especially, his parents? That too at a time when every Kashmiri wants to be a family member of every other fellow Kashmiri and that be a part of those bereaved, who are injured and those whose loved ones are killed for no reasons? After investigating within, he blames the overall traumatized psyche of Kashmiri people.
After smelling the streets around and the nearby Highway, he prefers to stay home and not move anywhere. But assures the lady that he will be visiting theirs as soon as the situation calms down.
Amid curfew, he witnesses some verbal clashes between youth and CRPF and a few but brief stone-pelting incidents about a hundred meters away from his house. He later learns that the locals are forced by some rogues from the uptown with some political backing, who threaten them of breaking the doors and windows of their houses, if they do not join them for a play! The locals, however, believe in peaceful protests.
It is time for Asr prayers. Prior to that he receives a tip-off, not a big scoop of some corrupt politician or a bureaucrat. It was neither about some more violent clashes but this time about some vehicular movement. After prayers he plans to visit the relative and informs his father about the whole thing and seeks his permission. He calls his cousin and tells him to keep his bike ready as he is going to see an injured friend. But warns, for the first time, a good secret keeper not to disclose before anybody about his ride.
Knowing his mother, a patient, who is always reluctant to let anyone move anywhere from home chants a new mantra these days, “Better stay home than get hit by anybody on the roads!” And her favourite, “Times are turning bad, anything can happen anytime!” As she is always worried about everybody, he prefers not to tell her about the relative rather lies to her that he got a phone call from the editor to get a story. However, story is not an intention at all.
He gets the keys and helmet. His mother, as always, insists him to change his clothes. Without changing, in his favourite Adidas tracksuit and Nike sports shoes, he zaps. It is raining. And it is time for evening prayers. This time he does not offer prayers in Jamm’at at their local Masjid, instead plans to offer them somewhere else on his way. As he reaches the Highway he finds no one except CRPF men, their shields, sticks and their vehicles. But no one stops him from moving. It is already dark, as he has turned the headlights on right from the engine’s first roar. Although a brave man, he is scared for no reasons. Soon he relaxes as he finds some people waiting on the roadside, probably for transport, and some two-wheelers as well.
As he speeds up, it rains heavily. In his journalist mind, he wants to play smart and get two things done simultaneously. One, seeing his relative and the other, some feed for his blog. After riding for some five to eight minutes and traveling a distance of about six kilometers he is stunned as he sees the road ahead blocked. It is near the DPL (District Police Lines). He has only three and a half kilometers more to travel. There is another biker with a pillion who is already being questioned by some cops at the DPL as it comes on the way. This journalist too stops. Stops the engine. Turns headlights off. He gets down and puts his helmet off, as the cops are not audible because of rain and probably of the helmet. He approaches them, asks them if it is safe to move ahead. They warn him to make a U-turn and choose a different route. Among the cops there is a Sikh cop who speaks very politely with him but the other is very furious.
As he puts the helmet on and tries to move away, he sees hundreds more cops approaching the gate after playing with youth across the bridge nearby. Some of them completely discharged and a few after seeing him recharged. He starts the engine and tries to turn but some of the charged cops stop him and ask him, “Haan baie kya hai? ” He replies very modestly, “Maafi chahta hoon, Sir, maaloom nahien thha yahan sey bandh hai, aur vaisey bhi main jaa raha thha.” Soon some more cops join them and show him their bamboo sticks. He begs before them and asks them to pardon him. “Kaun hai bey tu?” “Sir, main press sey hoon.” Press se ho to kya khuda ho, saaley, maaro isko.” Here comes another, “Kya huwa?” And here he hits him in his left lower abs; here is another who hits him in the right. Another on his right arm and… Oh no, his elbow! Now he does not feel anything as he gets many free hits and a wholesale beating. He becomes a statue! His whole body burns with pain. “Utthao apni gaadi ko aur bhago yahaan sey.” He is not able to move properly and his bike has already fallen down. He has no strength but he succeeds in lifting the bike. While lifting he gets some more bamboos. Turning without starting the engine it is very painful to move. With all his force he gets on the bike. Lucky a man he his! He has his helmet on or he would die on spot as they hit him in his head many times!
He is breathless but starts. Meanwhile, more people are seen coming. “Iss sey zyada tum logon ko padein gey. Chalo bhago yahaan sey. Bhago.” They shout at the people who have stopped their vehicles right there. He is still there while a policeman himself, not in uniform, becomes their victim but luckily, after showing his ID, is spared. The journalist, right in his third gear speeds up and reaches 60 but soon realizes that his arm is completely lifeless! Slows down and at a safer distance near a passenger shed stops and gets down. Pulls his clothes up and under the taillight try to look at the spots that got hit. A man from outside the state helps him identify the spots on his body. There are many people standing near the passenger shed who ask him, “Bhayi saab kya huwa? Kyun maara unn saaloon ney? Sab kuchh theak to thha.” and a flurry of unquotable abuse to follow. .” “Ye sab paagal ho gayey hain!” He as a courteous Kashmiri offers them to come with him and stay at his home till the situation becomes better. But they tell him that they have to reach their homes as soon as possible. They have their own reasons of not staying in Kashmir. But this boy comes to him and asks him, “Was it you on the bike who was beaten so brutally?” “Yes. That was me.” The boy mutters some slangs against them with genuine anger; they detained me all through the day. They accused me of stealing a bike and being a key player in some of the stone-pelting incidents.” He further asks him, “Where are you going?” The journalist replies, “Nowhere but home!” Ends…
As his mark of protest he did not even wish his friends and relatives on Eid. He would usually write a few creative lines or a piece of poetry as Eid wish. But, this time, he did not write anything!
Why was he beaten so mercilessly? Is it because his fellow journalists have been exposing them for their wrong doings and innocent killings? I do believe that most of the cops are an illiterate lot but it was normal at that time. Then, why did they beat him? Did they want to send a message across the journalist fraternity that this is what they can do with a journalist not for writing against them, but they just hate the name ‘journalist’ and go to any limits to gag their voice? Or they wanted to promote their bamboo sticks as they were forgotten for a long period of time? Or, was he cursed for lying to her mother and got punished? I ask myself.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 19 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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