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Alif: Chapter 1: The Assasination

NOTE: Please excuse my spelling mistakes as I was writing this in the computer lab while waiting for Vashi. Been planning this story for two years and this would be out as a five chapter format blogovel (blog novel). I was inspired by my ex because we had a conversation once about this. I’ve moved on, but this story was always in my mind. And so, I present you, Alif.

August 26th, 2016
3:42 PM. GUJARAT, INDIA.

The cafe was packed with customers, as each one chatted with one another. Topics about politics, sports, family, and even cricket were discussed when the MTV channel was interrupted with an urgent News Report. The usual montage for the MTI News Channel blared as heads turned, wondering where did Lady Gaga go.

“Breaking news! The Chief Minister of Gujarat has been assassinated moments ago”

Gasps escaped from everyone’s throats as their eyes widened with fear. Some held their hands to their mouths, covering it, as though not letting in any of the bad news into their mouths.

“Chief Minister Prakash Patel was shot point blank on his chest while delivering a speech at an International Expo at the Gujarat International School.”

The Newscaster’s face was grim as she reported the news. Elsewhere around India, everyone watched the news with silence hoping that whatever reported could be just a rumor.

The mechanics in Mumbai stopped working, and stared at their television screens. The Chaiwallas in Delhi stopped their delivery rounds and stood still, listening to the radio broadcast. Businessmen in Bangalore flipped the latest news and tried to get every news update about this issue on Twitter and CNN. Farmers with radios in their hands in Punjab stopped ploughing their fields and stood in the hot sun to listen clearly.

“Chief Minister Prakash Patel was delivering his speech at the International Expo when two gun shots were heard. The third hit the 53 year old Chief Minister squarely on the chest. He would have been 54 tomorrow.”

The world watched, as the MTI News Channel showed footages of the scene, with civilians shouting in the background, police personnel trying to get things in control. There was lots of confusion with people running hither and thither. Some were shouting, some were screaming, others were crying and the rest were lost.

The MTI television crew was doing a good job in covering the whole scene.

“I can tell you, this must be the work of terrorists. Bloody fuckers.” An old man said to the person next to him as he watched the whole scene taking place on the television screen in a cafe.

The News Reporter’s face flashed back on the screen. “Officials have no report whether this has been the work of Muslim extremists or any other forces. Along with us right now is Chief Inspector of Gujarat, Inspector Deshmukh. Inspector, are you there?” A visual of a tall, tanned skinned man with a pencil thin moustache appeared on the screen.

“Inspector Deshmukh, can you tell us, what exactly took place?”

Inspector Deshmukh scratched his eyebrow, took a sigh and said, “We have no idea exactly what took place but we do know that there were 3 gun shots fired from the crowd as the CM was delivering his speech with the third hitting him on the chest.”

“Any idea which terrorists group is behind this assassination?”

“We can’t tell if it’s the work of terrorists or extremists or what not. So I wish that people don’t make any conclusions as of yet and don’t make any rash decisions. I want everyone to stay calm and let us do our work. Thank you.” Deshmukh then walks away from the camera leaving the newscaster calling out to him. It may had seemed funny had it been not a serious situation.

But this was serious.

***

August 26th, 2016
4:05 PM. GUJARAT, INDIA.

Crowds have been swelling in places that had televisions. For those cafes or shops that didn’t had any television sets installed at their place, they were running to the nearby electrical appliances shop to get their hands on portable television sets.

The news was getting sensational. Business in restaurants and electrical shops bloomed.

Online forums and social sites such as Twitter and Facebook were jam packed with comments, status updates and even photos and videos regarding the assassination.

Many fanned themselves with today’s newspapers as they watched the news. Elsewhere, newspaper companies were printing out copies of tomorrow’s newspapers. Rest assured, no one’s going to use the papers to fan themselves tomorrow, that was the guarantee.

“This is just in. A witness, who wishes not be named, was present during the assassination, was videotaping the whole event when he managed to get the assassination on video. Viewer discretion is advised as this footage might appear disturbing to some”

The newscaster’s face was then replaced with a video of the event. The camera was shaky, as it appeared to be taken by a phone camera. The sound was not clear but it was still audible.

As it appeared, the witness was at the third row from the front as the Chief Minister was delivering his speech. A good close up of the Chief Minister was captured on the video. A gun shot was heard from the back which prompted the Chief Minister’s bodyguards to rush to the Chief Minister’s cover. People panicked and many fled from their seats. Some ducked, some ran in different directions. The witness ducked as well but his focus was still on the Chief Minister. A second shot was fired as one of the Chief Minister’s bodyguard’s was hit on the leg.

Everyone was screaming and police personnel were seen rushing towards the gunshots.

Then, came the third shot. It hit the Chief Minister on the chest as he was left exposed from his fallen bodyguard.

No more shots after that. Just shouting, screaming and wailing. And then sirens. Lots of shouting and commotion. Confusion.

The camera zoomed in to the Chief Minister as he lay on his bodyguard’s lap. His eyes closed peacefully as blood was oozing from his left chest.

Everyone around the world watched in silence as the Chief Minister took his last gasp of breath.

And then, silence.

***

August 26th, 2016
11:55 PM. GUJARAT, INDIA.

“Just exactly a month ago, in the same state, there were religious clashes. Many Muslims were dead and many more Hindus were dead” A bored looking politician’s voice droned on as he spoke his mind on a late night talk show. “So this is evident, this is a proof that this was the work of Muslim extremists who definitely took matters to their own hands.”

“Do you think, this is a work of a group or an individual?” The television host asked.

“It has to be a group. I mean, who else can bypass the tight security? You need people from inside, and of course, weapons. You need people with knowledge in weapons. You need people who sell and deliver them. You need people and so yes, of course, this is a work of a group.”

“Based on rumors, they say that the Chief Minister was someone who was corrupted. Could this be the reason he-” the Television host was interrupted by the old politician.

“Are you trying to imply that the Chief Minister, sorry, the deceased Chief Minister, the well known philanthropist, Doctor Prakash Patel MBBS, was a corrupted politician? Are you trying to imply that he was shot for helping out thousands of Indians like us, a corrupted person?” the old politician was fuming.

“No, as I said, they are just rumors. But I just want to get things cleared and-“

“Rumors are rumors! We do so much, and yet people procrastinate. A great man was shot today, and instead of feeling sorry, we’re dwelling on such questions! I feel sick!”

“I’m sorry. We can skip this question if you like.”

“Yes, I wish to skip. No more such questions please.” The politician wiped his lips with his handkerchief.

“Do you think this is a work of people internally?” The television host asked.

There was silence in the crowd. The politician observed the television host and then asked, “What do you mean?”

“Politics. They breed ego, pride but worst of all, greed and jealousy. What if, the Chief Minister was assassinated squarely based on political reasons.”

The old politician pondered on for a moment and then spoke, “Well, that could be possible. But if it’s true, it could be a very dangerous thin line they’re all taking”

“So you still think external forces were behind this attack?”

“Yes. But I still believe that this was the work of Muslim extremists”

There was silence as the television host swallowed the answer. Then he asked, “Last question. What would you say, if this was not the work of Muslim extremists? What if this was the work of Non Muslims?”

The politician looked into the host’s eye. He politician smiled and answered, “It can never be a Non-Muslim.”

“Never will, never will be.”

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