Thursday, 5 December 2019

A Tale Of Misery Shakira’s open letter to Rahul Gandhi for help failed to evoke response

Updated: March 10, 2012 5:14 pm

The lines of pain, helplessness and concern that had been etched on her face ever since her husband was shot at, and greviously injured following the 2006 Masauli (district Bara Banki, Uttar Pradesh) communal riots have disppeared. They have instead been replaced with deep cold lines of numbness—indicating a sad and futile end to her five-and-half years of struggle to save her husband from the jaws of death. Mohd Rehan, in his late thirties, passed away in the early hours of February 16, 2012, leaving Shakira Khatoon completely broken, devoid of any respect for compassion or believe in human kindness.

The Congress in this election, has left no stone unturned to convey that it is the best party that the Muslims should bank upon. But Shakira’s family had been going through great hardships ever since the sole bread earner of the family Rehan was critically injured on the fateful evening of October 02, 2006. On Durga idol immersion, communal violence had broken down in Bahraich, Bara Banki and Hardoi districts of Uttar Pradesh. In these riots one youth was killed and over 100 were injured in separate incidents of violence reported from all the three adjoining districts in UP. Rehan, a backward Muslim from Kaiserganj of Bahraich, was one of the injured. He suffered disability due to the injuries confining him to bed. He had lived a life worse than death in the years that he lived, totally dependent on medication for survival.

Despite being struck by penuary, Shakira had somehow manged to pull along determined not to let go for the sake of her husband. But this January she had absolutely nothing left that could help her, keep her body and soul together. It disturbed her no end that she could neither afford treatment for her bed-ridden husband or make both ends meet.

Shakira had heard about how Congress national secretary, Rahul Gandhi had gone out of his way to help the poor and needy. Desperate to save her husband at all cost Shakira wrote an open letter, appealing to Rahul for help. She urged him for justice and adequate compensation for her husband, reportedly a victim of these riots who was on his death bed. This letter was also addressed to senior Muslim leaders including Khalid Rashid of Firangi Mahal and renowned Shia cleric, Maulana Syed Kalbe Jawwad, urging them both to intercede with Rahul Gandhi on her behalf.

She wrote in the letter how her husband, Mohd Rehan, while returning home had been attacked by an armed mob of rioters. She described how Rehan along with other Muslim men had been robbed of their valuables and had been beaten up brutally. Many women jumped into the canal rather than face a fate worse than death. Shakira urged Rahul to order a CBI inquiry into the entire incident and ascertain why all this had not been done before so that poor people like her husband got justice.

Shakira had appealed to Rahul to provide financial relief to the families of the 2006 riot victims and for the medical treatment of her husband.

But it seemed that her appeal fell on deaf ears. Rahul came to Bahraich, addressed an election meeting, but he neither had the time to call on this poor woman or to ensure that she would be provided financial support .

“Rahulji you have helped many widows in the past, I only hope and pray that your help reaches me before I become a widow,” Shakira had appealed in the letter.

Her fears were well founded as no help came her way. Rehan died and with it died Shahkira’s faith in humanity.

By Kulsum Mustafa from Lucknow

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