Eid Mubarak - contd
by Geetika Lohan
Back to Page 1 of the story
The innocence, with which Shaukat’s deeds were narrated by a ten year old little girl, tore apart Raees Ali the most who couldn’t believe the brother he loved so much had such a dark side.
Salima was silent, crying, feeling guilty not for the murder but for the fact that despite all she did couldn’t save Tabassum from the misery.
Advocate Nayyar gave up and unwilling to fight anymore sat silently. Neetu had already taken permission to stand as a witness and add insight to the case. She removed her black coat and stood bold in the witness box.
Her eyes into Raees’.
“My Lord !! Five years back I decided to love and marry Raees Ali(elder brother of the deceased).I went against my friends family and community and I don’t regret it.
It was February and I was expecting his child. He had to return from Dubai that day. I was alone in the house. His Ammi had gone to attend a party when Shaukat entered all drunk and attempted rape on me. I left the house and ran out to save myself. I was vulnerable. Had it not been for Fatima neither me nor my child would have been alive in this world today. I request the court to take in to account the sins the monster had done in the shadow of religion before the Judgment is announced.”
Neetu quietly sat in the audience. Fatima was praying. Raees was guilty.
Abhishek wanted Salima to be free.
And the audience worldwide who were watching it in the court or through the media were silent, disgusted and ashamed of the society they had nourished with ignorance.
The incidence had brought all religions under one roof of “justice for Salima” and all the more for the little Tabassum.
There was silence in
the court. The lull was abominable. As if judge had lost his speech or probably didn’t know what to say.
And then came the verdict –
“All allegations against Salima Fatima have been proved and the court agrees that she is held guilty of murder of Shaukat Ali. But taking into account the circumstances, the court understands that Salima killed him to defend a girl who was under eighteen and was helpless at the time. The court hereby withdraws all the allegations against her and frees her from the charges of murder. But this decision shall not be taken for granted and be directed to severe punishments in case of any complaints in future.
The court is adjourned.”
The court was dismissed. Salima still stood petrified. She never wanted Tabassum to be exposed to this experience. She wasn’t happy while the whole world celebrated her freedom.
For Fatima Eid was Mubarak again. She left for Ajmer Sharif for two days the very evening.
Raees visited Neetu in the evening.
“Your Son. His name is Reehan Ali.” Neetu avoided eye contact while she spoke.
Raees was speechless and hugged his family.
“I never hated you. I left because of Shaukat. He tried to..”
“I am Sorry Neetu. Please forgive me. I did not come for five years because I was scared of facing the truth. I wished whatever ammi said wasn’t true but feared what if it was. I never thought the truth was so dark. ”
Neetu and Raees were a family again while Salima sat alone recalling the dark days and how Abhishek had illuminated them by his mere touch. She wondered if whatever happened between her and Abhishek still held valid or was it just a passing phase?
The knock on the door answered the questions. It was Abhishek holding a bunch of beautiful flowers. “Eid Mubarak Salima.” ***