This weekend I hugged Petit Loup (my son) a little bit more tightly. And a little bit longer too. Only because of Ritesh Gobin’s story. :((( An eleven year old, who no doubt was to have a very bright future ahead of him met a very fatal and brutal end. All in a few minutes when he was beheaded and left to die. In Hinduism, we celebrate rakhi bandhan, where sisters tie rakhis around their brothers’ wrists – and in return we brothers promise to protect them. We sometimes take these ‘oaths’ for granted. Little Ritesh took this very seriously — and did just that: protect his sister against someone bigger and stronger than him. With big dreams of becoming a policeman one day, he was a fearless boy. He tried to protect his younger sister who was being sexually assaulted by that disgusting adult (worst of a kind) animal. How heroic dearest Ritesh! My son, myself and all our friends at EnForce Maurice! are so very proud of you. You have inspired so many of us without knowing you personally. Today, Mauritius 🇲🇺 OWES you a dignified national state funeral / funeral d’état avec honneur.
I, Yuvan A. Beejadhur, citizen of Mauritius and Chair of EnForce Maurice! am hereby kindly asking the Hon. Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius Mr. Pravin K. Jugnauth to please award Master Ritesh Gobin a state funeral “digne de son nom”. We owe this to him and all those of his generation who continue to suffer at the hands of violent and horrendous predators. He didn’t die in vain. No child deserves such a tragic end. We also ask you Mr. PM to invest, protect and do much more in communities where the well-being of families are at risk of home abuse, anger, frustrations, running away from school, children walking out late at night without adult supervision, broken families, trafficking, prostitution, drugs, alcoholism, poverty, mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia, etc. In a year’s time we need to see some serious and quick results: how many regions, families, communities have been supported. we don’t want to see more inauguration of buildings and cutting of red ribbons. We demand that MaBC places at least 15 minutes everyday during national news of serious issues vulnerable people are facing and what solutions are being provided. Please also invest better and more in our police and security forces. The Chair of the Economic Development Board (EDB) with all due respect, doesn’t need Rs 1000,000 per month to help Mauritius become a high-income nation — especially when women are making Rs 1500 in some places. When some kids don’t have jobs after graduation. When we have a weak education system. When land is not available for farmers. Or expensive for newly wed couples. When drugs keep making families bleed profusely. You should not and cannot afford Ministers who don’t deliver or who reinvent the truth or have no substantive knowledge of key agendas. Or who keep recruiting petits copains and petits copines. Or who keep insulting lepep. I will be challenging you Mr. PM on these issues as we move closer to the general election and beyond. I invite you and your team to debate with me and my team at EnForce Maurice! on those topics at a time of our mutual convenience. We desperately need a more healthy citizen engagement.
Hats off to the MCIT police team lead by ACP Yeshwantdev Cally and inspectors Rishi Jugoo et Satish Ramjheetun for having quickly arrested the accused. Also, instead of awarding so often people who do not really deserve state recognition at March 12 celebrations, please kindly award something worthy to the life and memory of little Ritesh. Mauritius is watching you. And the world is watching us.
I admit, no matter how positive I generally feel, no matter how strong I feel, I am feeling like so many of you, so very broken, as a father and a citizen, as someone who believes strongly in our youth, as someone who wants to believe in our nation’s uniqueness, that we couldn’t protect you Ritesh. And so many others. That our society has collectively fallen so low. That such violent and incomprehensible crimes still exist, in both developed and under developed areas of the country. It is part of a bigger problem: une société qui vit de plus en plus mal. Qui se sent mal. Qui respire mal. Le mal est partout. With so many interlinked problems. That few are thinking seriously of doing something about safety and well-being of those smaller and younger than us. That our destiny as Mauritians is intertwined. That in the end, no one is safe today. YOU are not safe. WE are not safe. As a parent, one of our greatest fear is to see something happen to our own little ones or grown up children. I can’t imagine what his sister who was abused and witnessed the crime and the parents are going through. And how they will live with this atrocity. The permanent damage and trauma done. And also the ‘wife’ of that animal who has been brutalized and living in fear according to latest reports we are hearing. Something or many things rather are VERY wrong in our society.
Like many Mauritians, I do not have the right words to comfort the family and the community and that feeling of helplessness in the face of darkness and Evil — and political intertia and lethargy — is revolting. Frustrating. Scary. That we all may very well go back to business as usual. That we accept weak judgements by our legal ‘experts’. That there is no just and fair retribution. That we will keep disrespecting our police forces. And where some of our police force are giving up or getting corrupted. That we will keep looking for short cuts. That we keep voting the same dishonest and dispassionate leaders. This is serious.
We just celebrated Dasheera where we say, like in all great beliefs, cultures and religions that “goodness wins over evil”. It’s quite hard to really see the good in all this. Except perhaps, and I sincerely hope that our judges take a solid stance — that the animal will stay jailed till the end of his days and with no right of parole. I am hopeful we all wake up from the nightmare we live in and can collectively act for a brighter Mauritius ahead. We owe this to Ritesh and to all the others who are at risk of the demons lurking around.
On October 24 we celebrate the United Nations day to remind us of our common destiny on the planet. In Mauritius, there are plans to switch off the lights at 8 pm to express our anger on this whole story. I ask that we keep a light on – that we keep our light on as a nation with a common future – for little Master Ritesh and for his last rites.
I never thought I would say it, nor think it, and Dear God please forgive me here for thinking this, but it’s one of those dark times when I thought, for such a hateful crime, how can we not ask for capital punishment ?
Yuvan A. Beejadhur
Ritesh, Our National Hero!
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