Eighteen-year-old Rukhsana has become an icon of bravery for teenaged girls in this laid-back town that was once under the perennial fear of the terrorist’s gun.
Some girls said they want to be trained to use guns to deal with terrorists the way Rukhsana did when three of them barged into her house on Sunday night.
Their heroine, who had never used a gun before, hit a top Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorist with an axe and then shot him dead with his own AK-47 assault rifle after he and two others beat her parents up.
The two other terrorists fled from Rukhsana.
“If she can do it, so can we. Rukhsana has shown us the way. Now I feel girls should be given arms training so that we can take on terrorists ourselves,” said 18-year-old Sonia Tabassum, a class 12 student at a government school in Rajouri district, 160 km northeast of Jammu.
Sonia, who hails from Rukhsana’s village, travels 20 km to go to school.
Said Shehnaz Bhatt, another class 12 student from the same school, “Rukhsana has proved that girls are second to none and can face any difficulty. She has instilled a new courage in me. If she can handle a gun and shoot a terrorist dead without any training, imagine what we girls can do if we get formal arms training. She is my hero and I will follow her.”
The girls’ faces redden with anger when they’re asked how they feel when terrorists, professing to be waging jihad or a holy war, kill people and rape young women.
“It’s no jihad. Is killing human beings and raping women a jihad? They should be dealt with in the way Rukhsana treated them or they should be hanged publicly,” said class 11 student Payal Khajuria.
“These people make our parents think about restricting our movements when they hear about incidents like this. It affects our freedom and studies. We can’t tolerate it any more,” she said.