For young Rukhsana, who killed a militant to protect her family, the 15 minutes she spent with Pratibha Patil were undoubtedly the most precious moments of her life. And she had a message for the President too -- girls should be given arms training.
Patil, on a visit to Jammu region, carved out time especially to meet the 22-year-old girl who elicited praise from across the country for her daredevil act. Ruksana had killed a top Pakistani militant and injured another at Kalsian village in Rajouri district on the night of September 27. She, along with her brother Aijaz Ahmed, had overpowered the terrorist, snatched his rifle and fired at him, killing him on the spot.
"It was a red letter day for me and my family, as the President was here to boost my morale and praise my act. It was a great honour to talk to her and click photographs with her," Ruksana told reporters after her interaction with Patil at the special lounge of the Actual Landing Ground in Rajouri on Friday.
"I am encouraged by her pat," she said, adding she narrated the entire incident to Patil, who "listened with curiosity and patience". Ruksana had a message for Patil.
"My message to her was that girls should be imparted arms training. There is an urgent need for self-defence in remote and mountainous belts."
The president promised her all possible help. Undeterred by threats from militants, Ruksana said, "My message to girls in Jammu and Kashmir is to live together and get arms practise to defeat the nefarious designs of the militants".
Responding to a query about a job offer by the state government, Ruksana said she did not kill the militant to get a job. "If government offers any job, I will not hesitate to accept it," she said. However, she emphasised that her brother Aijaz should get a permanent government job.
India TV chairman Rajat Sharma had presented a cheque of Rs one lakh as a token of appreciation to Rukhsana on the sets of Aap Ki Adalat show in the presence of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit last week. PTI