Today as every Indian news channel is recounting the horrors of the 16 hour long hostage drama in Jammu, Jammu is still reeling under the shock of the incident and is warily coming terms to the fact that some of the militants are supposed to be still missing. The valley is maintaining a stoic silence. And I am wondering what some of these people were thinking?
* The BSF personnel who discovered that the fence on the Indo-Pak border had been cut and militants had infiltrated at 12:30 a.m on Tuesday. The fact that they hid in the bushes for 30 hours undiscovered before venturing out, is not being looked upon kindly by the civilians and villagers of the surrounding area.
* The driver of a load carrier auto No. 5843 JK02C at village Gadla in Lalyala area of Kanachak sector.He was Darshan Lal son of Leelu Ram R/o Gadla, Kanachak. Two militants took positions on front seat of the auto and forced Darshan Lal to drive.
* The five or six Gujjars who along with their large milk containers were also sitting in back portion of the auto. One of the militant sat with them in the back. The militants were wearing ‘khaki’ dresses of police which they had brought with them from Pakistan and were carrying assault rifles, ammunition belts, grenades and some other devices.
* The police/army personnel who tried to intercept Darshan Lal's auto carrying the 3 militants and the innocent Gujjars at various check points.
* What did Havildar Netar Singh and Sepoy Yashpal, both from Ist JAK Li, think before they were fired at by the militants at an Army naka outside Kanachak Dak Bungalow.
* Naib Subedar (JCO) VVK Parkashan's last thoughts before he got shot and died on spot at Domana.
* What was Army jawan Sepoy Pal Panion of 61 Field Regiment thinking as he chased the auto on a civilian’s motor-cycle before he too was shot at by the militants and injured seriously.
* A Gujjar Muslim identified as Mohd Shabir tried to grapple with the militant sitting on back portion of the auto in a bid to snatch his weapon. The militant threw him out of the vehicle near Domana and opened firing on him but he survived the shots. What was he thinking?
* At Keran Patian Darshan Lal's auto stopped and the militants hijacked another auto.The auto was being driven by Havildar Vijay Kumar son of Sita Ram R/o Keran Patian, who had come to his house on leave from his place of posting at Jaipur and was driving his father's auto to reach to the main road from where he was scheduled to leave for Himachal Pradesh.
Vijay Kumar categorically refused to give lift to the militants and was shot dead. What was he thinking when he heroically refused to drive and what is his family thinking now?
* The militants, rendered without a vehicle, then started targeting civilians and opened firing on a motor-cycle killing Showkat Hussain son of Saif Ali R/o Khairi, Bantalab. Showkat’s brother, a police constable who was sitting behind on the bike, had a narrow escape in the firing. Another constable, Joginder Singh too survived the firing.
* The militants tried to enter into the house of another Subedar (Retired) JCO Naseeb Singh son of Vidhu Singh but he too resisted the attempt and was gunned down.
* Two labourers, moving in the village, were also shot at by the militants and injured seriously. They have been identified as Uttam Acharya son of George Acharya R/o Assam and Ragha Behlev Rai son of Berin Rai R/o Bihar, both of whom were putting up at Keran Patian. Assam and Bihar... so far away from home to make a honest living. What are they thinking as they struggle to survive.
* 60 year old civilian Sarasa Ram son of Mangi Ram R/o Chinore suffered a heart attack after hearing sound of gun shots during the gunbattle and was rushed to GMC Jammu where he breathed his last.
* The villagers of Keran Patian were sleeping at 6:15 a.m and most of the houses were bolted form inside. The militants tried entering a few houses and failed. The villagers must be thinking what if they had not bolted their doors which is not very unusual in a small town/village, what if....
* Billo Ram's house was unfortunately not bolted form inside as Billo Ram had gone to Government Medical Collge/ Hospital for treatment. He had beenbitten by a snake. A neighbor was present in his house at the time besides Billo Ram's mother, 35 yr. old wife, 4 children, the oldest being 9 and the youngest being 2, his brother-in-law and a tenant who is also a teacher. What did all these people think when they saw these militants barging in early in the morning with AK 47s and hand grenades.
* What went through Billo Ram's mind as he heard the news and rushed back from the hospital. What was he thinking for the 16 hours...the time it took for this hostage drama to end, not knowing whether his family was alive or not.
* What went through the 35 yr. old Sunita's mind, mother to the 4 children as she hid in a room with her brother. How did she explain all this to her children. How did she shush her crying 2 yr. old and pacify her frightened 3 yr. old. I am also wondering what those children ate or did not eat for those 16 hours. It is being reported that when the hostage drama ended Sunita had a gunshot wound on her thigh and she was rushed to the hospital. The children it is said took 2 hours to come out of this shock.
* And finally what went on, through the minds of those Pakistani terrorists who killed so easily and were ready to die so willingly. How had they been brainwashed? had they or their families been promised money, or was it the lure of 'jannat' or the 76 or so virgins awaiting them in heaven?How do you learn to hate so? Really, what were they thinking?
I can only mull over these questions and make conjectures. The questions bothersome and the answers even more difficult.