A further prolonged separation between mother and child would only mean untold suffering that Indira does not deserve any longer, Mustafa K Anuar writes.No mothers of sound mind would want to trade places with M Indira Gandhi, whose youngest daughter, Prasana Diksa, was abducted by her ex-husband in 2009 following his conversion to Islam. She has not seen Prasana since then.
After snatching their 11-month-old daughter away from her doting mother, Muhammad Riduan Abdullah seems to have been leading the life of a fugitive, particularly after the Federal Court ordered in 2016 then-inspector general of police Khalid Abu Bakar to arrest him.
In 2018, the Federal Court unanimously ruled that the unilateral conversions of the couple’s three children by their father into Islam were unlawful because such decisions required permission from both parents.
Indira has been denied the pleasure of watching her child grow, learn to walk and trip over words in her mother tongue over the years. It must be heart-wrenching for Indira to only remember her daughter as a baby without knowing what the 12-year-old looks like now. No right-thinking mothers would want to wish their daughters a happy birthday merely over Facebook, as Indira did recently for Prasana’s 12th birthday, instead of saying it in person and together with the rest of the family and friends in what would otherwise have been a joyous occasion.
Indira subsequently requested Inspector General Abdul Hamid Bador to help convey her birthday wishes to her daughter, as he is said to know her whereabouts. The distressed mother still leans on the hope that she will eventually be reunited with her lost daughter based on the “happy ending” promise made by the inspector general some time ago.
According to Indira, who pines for her lost daughter, all avenues have been exhausted in her pursuit of justice as well as Prasana’s return to her maternal embrace. Eleven years is a very long wait for anyone, a heart-breaking gap indeed, especially for a mother who has been deprived of the opportunity to enjoy Prasana’s childhood.
This explains why Indira plans to stage a one-day hunger strike on 11 September in front of the Bukit Aman police headquarters if she fails to meet the inspector general over Prasana’s case by Merdeka Day at the latest.
While coming from an ethnic and religious minority should not be an obstacle at all towards getting justice and public attention in a functioning democracy, the delayed justice that Indira has been experiencing all this while makes one wonder whether it is indeed a key factor that is at play.
Some may call it desperation on her part, but any loving mother worth her salt would do the darndest to be with her long, lost child. And she cannot afford to give up on her endeavour.
As part of humanity, concerned Malaysians, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion and age, would hope for an imminent and joyful closure to this protracted chapter of the anguished mother.
A further prolonged separation between mother and child would only mean untold suffering that Indira does not deserve any longer. Moreover, justice would not be served if Indira is to be “punished” for someone else’s misdeed of abducting her daughter.