शीशे का बदन था, पहाड़ों का सफ़र था
घर आ गया हूँ, आपकी दुआओं का असर था
Swatantra Agrawal, a close friend of the family, received heavy blows all over his back while bravely defending me from the assailants; Sandeep Sahu, the PYC state general secretary, sustained serious head injuries, and has partially lost hearing in his left ear (even so, he is more scared about what his wife, Seema, would do to him!); Anil Chouhan, my PSO (personal security officer), had his weapon, a pistol, snatched from the mob before he could do anything; Pratap Singh Lodhi and Sachin Yadav, two local Congress leaders, were, I am told, also beaten rather badly.
Mr Sahu’s home, where this incident took place, is less than 50 metres from the local police station. Despite repeated calls, no one came to our rescue. In fact, later at the police station, when Anil complained about the mob having taken away his pistol, the local SDOP, a certain Mr Tiwari, retrieved it in less than 5 minutes; we also heard him receive telephonic instructions from his superior, the SP of Damoh, to ensure that FIR is lodged against us as well (apparently, in the regime of Shivraj Singh, MP’s chief minister, getting beaten is also an offense): to my mind, this is as good a proof of police complicity as any.
Lying here in my bed in room 286 at the Dr Rajendra Prasad Eye Centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), fully conscious for the first time since last night’s incident, I cannot help but recall that this is not the first time I’ve witnessed the BJP resort to violence to brutally crush all opposition for the purpose of electoral gain: Dilip Singh Judeo, BJP MP, did it to Shailesh Nitin Trivedi, my father’s then-Political Secretary, on the eve of polling for Bilaspur Lok Sabha (April 2009); Kedar Kashyap, BJP minister, did it to Pappu Tiwari, a dhaba owner in Bhanpuri, on the eve of polling for Bastar Lok Sabha bye-election (May 2011). In both cases, the police turned a blind-eye- before, during and after the incidents. I have little doubt that this time would be any different.
In fact, the way I see it- unfortunately, now, with only my left-eye!- things are going to get a lot worse before they start to get better. My only hope is that the people of Jabera, when they rise to go to vote this morning, will not succumb to the BJP's terror tactics; that they will see it for what it really is, a neo-fascist outfit out to manipulate people’s mind with all sorts of lies and cheap-tricks; and that, when all is said and done, truth and justice- and tolerance- will prevail. For that is precisely what my late Mamu (Mummy's kid-brother), Ratnesh Solomon, who served this constituency with all this heart, mind and soul for the past 30 years, stood for.
With that happy thought, I shall now lie down, to let the painkillers take their affect.
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