Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The murder of an innocent Indian

I had no idea how M.R. Kutty looked. He was an Indian citizen who hailed from Kerala and was employed in the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) as a driver. He was posted in Meghalaya. He was sent to Afghanistan as a member of the team building a road between Zaranj and Delaram. He was unlucky to be kidnapped by the Taliban. And four days after he was kidnapped his dead body was found in Delaram province of Afghanistan. He had been murdered by his kidnappers. For more than a day his family, relatives and friends went through the torture of trying to find out whether he was dead or alive. The Taliban had declared that they had killed him. But these claims were not believed. The Kerala CM even rang up his family and told them not to lose hope. Kutty was not an influential man. He was an ordinary citizen of India. Without being unfair to those who worked hard to get him released unharmed I suspect that if he had been a senior official or if his family had been influential there may have been a greater effort to save him. It was only when my mother switched on Asianet television channel and I saw his family through the eyes of a local channel that the impact of his kidnapping hit me. Satellite television has ensured that no corner of the globe is isolated. The powerful men in Delhi must have also seen these newsreports and must have suddenly felt the power of the audio-visual media. In the days when there was no satellite television the ordinary citizen had no idea whether the government was really trying hard to secure the release of hostages. Today his views and his cries and pleas reach the drawing rooms of the high and mighty. I remember Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre who was killed by his captors in England in the mid-eighties. Today he is a forgotten man in India. I wonder whether our urban, westernised, sophisticated compatriots even paused for a moment when they heard of Kutty and his sad death. But Kutty will be remembered as a man who contributed to the rebuilding of Afghanistan. The same Afghanistan which was a flourishing Hindu-Buddhist province many centuries ago. What I find sad is that we fail to recognise our true heroes. Let us hope that the government of India ensures that the sacrifice of MR Kutty is never forgotten.
Article from The Times of India


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