By RK Sinha
When we proceed towards Bandra and Juhu from Gateway of India and Marine Drive, one can encounter a bust statue on the left side. However, it seems hard to recognise the personality whom statue has portrayed. But, still it is understandable that the person portrayed in the statue must have be a policeman.
The person portrayed in statue form is in police uniform. You must be curious about his identity? Till the time your local friend or your driver informs you that the statue belongs to ASI Tukaram Omble, your vehicle has moved forward and the statue almost disappears from your sight. Your mind is filled with a sense of guilt that you were unable to stop at the statue and pay homage. The entire country is proud of the brave and fearless policeman like Tukaram Omble. He staked his life but caught the main devil of 26/11 terrorist attack Ajmal Kasab. Had the statue of Tukaram placed at the Gateway of India campus or any other prominent park, it would have been much better.
Then it would have been convenient for people to pay a proper homage to him. It is almost impossible to stop on a most busy road with heavy and fast traffic. Undoubtedly, India will never forget the 2008 incident where 10 terrorists of Pakistan came through the sea route, hijacked the Mumbai city and killed many innocents. Along with this, any patriot Indian will never forgive Pakistan for this deadly attack. It is evident that the incident caused many lives of innocent people. Ajmal Kasab was the deadliest among all the terrorists, which caused heavy bloodshed and pushed the society in shock . Ajmal Kasab was the only one among all the terrorists who was caught live by ASI Tukaram Omble and that also with just a stick.
Actually, heavy artillery exchange was taking place between police and terrorists. When a terrorist got killed in police firing, Kasab also started showing him also as dead. At that time Tukaram Omble was having a stick and Kasab was carrying loaded AK-47. Omble jumped and caught the gun barrel of Kasab. Suddenly, Kasab pressed the trigger and the stomach and lungs of Tukaram Omble got badly wounded by the shower of bullets. Omble fell on the ground but he continued to hold the barrel till his last breath making Kasab unable to fire any more shots. Just think,had Kasab got killed in this incident, Pakistan would have easily escaped liability and would have rejected any connections with the 26/11 massacre. Even after showing all the proofs, it continued to deny its involvement in the Mumbai terrorist attack. For the great valour shown by Tukaram Omble, he was posthumously awarded Ashok Chakra by the Government of India. However, according to me he should have been awarded with Bharat Ratna for his greatest sacrifice!
After looking at his bust one thing comes in my mind, what prevented the authorities installed his full length statue? On what basis it is decided that who is eligible for a bust statue and who is for full length? The great valour shown by Tukaram Omble and his associates is unbeatable.
However, the working professionals or people visiting for walk should go near the statue of Tukaram Omble and pay homage. People standing outside the houses of filmstars for hours and feel themselves lucky by having a glimpse of them should change their mindset. These filmstars are not the only heros .Maharashtra government and local administration should make arrangements so that outside visitors can get easy access to the statue of Tukaram Omble. Presently, a very few people reach there. Till now, on every anniversary of Mumbai attack the people sacrificed their lives are paid homage by their immediate relatives, leaders, government officers, sportsperson and only a few ordinary people .
On this day, leaders give formal lectures. They say” I am paying homage to the police personnel who had sacrificed their lives guarding Mumbai during 26/11 attack. We are proud of themselves and will take every possible steps to protect our state. “
The place where the statue of Tukaram Omble is installed is known as Girgaon Chaupati. Flowers are presented on the statue and candles are lit once a year. At this place he did supreme sacrifice of his life while arresting alive Azmal Kasab.
Pardon me, but in our country statues of politicians, poets, intellectuals, philanthropist are installed on a regular basis and will continue in future also. But do we ever paid attention for their maintenance. Absolutely not! Few days back, at the main crossroad of ludhiana city of Punjab, some anti-social elements detached the plate which was installed under the full length statue of hero of 1971 war martyr flying officer Nirmal jit Singh Sekhon. Only after the passage of many days necessity of installment of new plate was felt. Whereas, Ludhiana was hometown of Sekhon and was posthumously awarded with highest military award, Paramveer Chakra for his indomitable courage and gallantry. After a long time Ludhiana administration thought to install a new plate. This does not stop here. The true Indian will feel deeply aggrieved after seeing the statue of the hero of 1965 war martyr major Asha Ram Tyagi in Modinagar(Uttar Pradesh). The statue of Major Asha Ram Tyagi is in bad condition. Leave other states aside, eleven statues of Bapu in even Delhi are still continuing without his glasses. These are really shameful. If we install the statue of some great personality, then we should also pay attention to its maintenance. At least this much respect can be given to these national leaders.
(Writer is senior editor, columnist and former MP. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)