Rat-hole miners: Sagarika Ghose slams media hesitancy to name unsung heroestext_fields
New Delhi: As India celebrates the rescue operation of 41 workers who were held up in a tunnel for 41 days, the people - the rat-hole miners- who risked their lives to dig out the trapped miners are found to have been put in oblivion, as though their names are not important.
However, senior journalist Sagarika Ghose named the rescuers with pride, with a note calling out the persisting unwritten norm in society and in the media of naming and shaming people belonging to a particular community if any terror were to be linked.
In a message on the X platform, Ghose addressed the societal and media tendency to name and shame communities in the face of terror attacks, contrasting it with the apparent neglect of acknowledging the heroic efforts of individuals from specific backgrounds.
Ghose proudly named and saluted the rock-star miners who played a pivotal role in the rescue mission, challenging the unwritten norms that often overshadow the contributions of certain communities.
Taking to the X platform, Ghose said "Dear haters & bigots on my timeline, when it comes to terror attacks, you are quick to name and shame an entire community of people. But when it comes to a herculean and extraordinary rescue by “rock” star miners, their names become unmentionable? Must introspect! 3 big cheers and salaams to rat hole miners Feroz and Munna Quraishi, Rashid ,Irshad ,Naseem ,Monu ,Naseer Ankur ,Jatin ,Saurabh, Waqeel Hasan and Devender."
The 17-day rescue operation in the treacherous Silkyara tunnel culminated successfully, with all 41 workers emerging healthy from their entrapment. Prime Minister Modi, in a commendation message, saluted the spirit of everyone involved in the mission, highlighting the exemplary display of humanity and teamwork. The rescuers, including government agencies and the rat-hole miners, received praise for their relentless hard work and grit.
Munna Qureshi, a 29-year-old rat-hole miner employed in a Delhi-based trenchless engineering services company, emerged as a key figure in the rescue operation. Qureshi, along with other miners such as Monu Kumar, Wakeel Khan, Feroz, Parsadi Lodhi, and Vipin Rajout, became the last resort after a US-made auger machine malfunctioned.
Rat-hole mining, a method banned in 2014, involves digging small pits to extract coal—an unscientific but crucial technique in this life-saving mission.
Qureshi, the first rescuer to reach the trapped workers, recounted removing the last rock on Tuesday evening, triggering cheers, applause, and profuse thanks from the grateful survivors. The trapped men, waiting anxiously for a breakthrough, erupted in joy upon the miners' arrival, even offering tokens of gratitude like almonds.
The rat-hole miners stayed with the rescued workers for half an hour before the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) took over, ensuring a seamless transition from their arduous efforts to the organized rescue operations.