Her immensely brave act has turned young Rukhsana Kausar into a heroine and people now see her as a fighter against the “zulm” or atrocities of militants.
She had taken on a group of Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who barged into her house on Sunday night, snatched an AK-47 from one intruder and shot him dead. An earlier report claimed that Rukhsana had used an axe to kill the militant
She is full of smiles at her house in Upper Kalsi in Shahdhara Sharief of Rajouri district, as she is besieged by television reporters asking her how she did it.
Posing with the AK-47 that she grabbed from the militants, she recounts for the umpteenth time how she shot dead LeT terrorist Abu Osama in her house up in the hills, while the locals cheer her.
The girl, in her late teens, fought militants and saved her family, especially her parents. When the terrorists barged into her house late Sunday night, Rukhsana might have been provoked by the terror unleashed by the ultras on her parents - Noor Hussain and Rashida, and by a premonition that her own dignity was in danger. But what she did was an act of supreme bravery.
“One thing is for sure that the girl exhibited rare bravery, and she deserves all praise for it,” said Superintendent of Police, Rajouri, Shafkat Watali. “This is a clear manifestation that the people are willing to fight back militants. They are sick of the atrocities of militants.”
Rukhsana is aware that the new spotlight has come on her after she shot the militant with his own gun.
“I knew that they were up to something, and saw them trying to do something terribly wrong with my daddy,” Rukhsana said, brimming with anger. “I snatched the gun by pulling his hair and then opened fire on him.”
This act of the girl is being termed as a fight against “zulm” by the locals - who feel this would begin a new chapter in the anti-militancy feelings of the people.
“Now, we feel that militants are not invincible. They can be overpowered and killed,” said Showkat Hussain, a villager who had come to see Rukhsana from Darhal, about 30km from here.
The villagers, some of whom have dish antenna fixed on their houses, have seen Rukhsana on their TV sets. Many others came to see the new brave girl of the area.
“She is another Sher bibi,” say people, referring to a legendary Gujjar woman who used to venture into the jungles in Banihal area, where lions used to roam many decades ago.
After Rukhsana shot dead one terrorist, the other ultras ran away, including one who was injured.
The family members handed over to the police two AK-47 rifles which they had snatched from the terrorists.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra has lauded the exemplary courage and bravery of the fearless young girl. “The governor has asked for a formal report from the Director General of Police so that he can recommend the young girl for a gallantry award,” an official release said.
“The governor also intends to invite this brave girl to the Raj Bhavan to honour her,” the statement said.
Instead of writing a formal report, or arranging a photo-op meeting with the governor, how about sending some troops to protect this girl and her family? Jihadis worldwide have a long history, going back to the hadiths, of running when confronted, then slinking back when the coast is clear. If you are so inclined, please send some prayers for her safety.