Right from the playground, to classrooms, to faces, everything in that Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, looks Indian. The school-bags, the pens, the watches, water-bottles, no no to exams. Any Indian student can relate to those students.
What we cannot relate to however is the cold-blooded killing the school witnessed.
Six Taliban gunmen stormed. They killed. Most of the deceased being students. The attackers pronounced, "Your army kills our family, we will kill you. We want them to feel our pain." One is stunned, from which verse in their "religious text", they have derived legitimacy for this cowardly act.
The Dawn App sends me first notification this forenoon (I don't exactly remember the time), 'Taliban storms Army School, 4 students dead'. The report added, over 500 students are held hostage.
Mind was sandwiched between Sydney and Peshawar. Yesterday, Sydney Siege was in the headlines, today it was going to be Peshawar. With over 500 students still trapped, it was going to be a black and bloody day, I was sure.
|Protect those kids. They are innocent. They are cute. Photo: The Hindu|
Within an hour of the first notification, the toll went up to 84, majority of them school kids. In an hour 84 dreams were shot dead. For no fault of theirs, 84 families were devastated.
In the next one hour, the toll went up to 126. Then to 130 and counting... The number of students being massacred was getting updated like a cricket score board.
I was in the metro, in the way to office, and my heart was with those kids. Only thing I could whisper to myself, May Sanity Prevail. In the office then. Nothing can be more depressing than visiting website for live coverage of students-slaughter.
I don't know who coined the term the God Cop, Bad Cop. However, Good Taliban, Bad Taliban is a Pakistani discovery. Read this interview. .
This is not the time to show Pakistan mirror. But I want to tell Pakistani authorities this much.
"Don't be irrationally India-obsessed. Put your house in order. Rethink your strategies. Change your game plan. Divert your funds. Channelise your energy. Do everything possible to protect those kids. They are innocent. They are cute. Take care of them. India can be taken care of at a later time. India is not going to go. It will stay in your neighbourhood. You will look east, you will find India."
In this national mourning we are with you.