Sunday, May 10, 2015

168. Lessons from Salman case

I was deeply disturbed by this week's high drama surrounding the conviction of actor Salman Khan in a hit-and-run case and subsequent suspension of his sentence. My concern revolved round the following issues.

1. Media's lack of concern for the victims of the incident
2.Lost opportunity in drawing attention to the plight of thousands of under-trials
3.Delay in delivery of justice
4.Insensitive comments of a famous singer

I went through report after report in newspapers and on internet. The entire focus was on how fans and family members were praying for his release, how high and mighty from the film industry and other walks of life were showing their support to the actor by visiting him or through comments on the social media. Evidence for and against him, and why he should or should not have been granted bail was hotly debated.There were very few reports on the five victims and their families, especially the one who had been killed and the one who lost his leg. This was utter failure and irresponsibility on the part of media. I am sure, there were many people who wanted to know in detail about the plight of the victims, but media simply chose to starve them. It would have required some effort to trace out the families of the victims and find out about their hardships. It was easy to sit in Mumbai and report on what was readily available and whose consumption was guaranteed.

I believe, Salman is a good man. He has been involved with many charitable causes. While he may not have been driving the vehicle, it is an undisputed fact that the vehicle belonged to him. My respect for him would have gone up if he had shown concern for the victims and their families on the day of the verdict and promised to look after them. He is in a position to do that. Then, what prevents him from doing so? 

In Salman's case, the trial court verdict came after 13 years. High court may take a few years more to decide his appeal. Is it not a sad commentary on our judicial system? I know that our procedures are very cumbersome and our courts are overburdened. But why is it that we are not able to find answers to these very old and persisting problems? Have we given up?

Bombay High Court suspended the sentence of Salman Khan and I believe, rightly so. But what about lacs of under-trials in our jails who have no capacity to submit bail bonds, hire expensive lawyers and work through the judicial system to get justice for themselves? Are they lesser citizens than Salman? Are they lesser human beings? In fact, families of such people need them to be out of jail much more than those of the affluent. I shudder to think how many families may have been ruined due to their bread-earners languishing in jail for years without trial or bail.

I was most pained by the comments of a famous singer who compared the victims to dogs. Famous people have a responsibility to the society. Whatever they say or do touches a large number of people. He is guilty of causing pain to millions of people through his mindless and most inhuman comment. Why did he do so? Was it done on the spur of a moment? Was it an act of sycophancy? Was it an attempt to outdo others in showing support? Was it a publicity gimmick? Whatever it was, it needs to be punished. He is a great singer, but he deserves to be boycotted. Film industry and the rest of the society should ostracise him. Media should stop talking and reporting about him. He has apologised, but his apology is worse than his comment and he deserves no apology. There should be a system by which such people are quickly punished under law. Of course, I don't expect any of this to happen. I expect that this year or next year or in a year next to that, he will be proudly receiving lifetime achievement award and thousands will be giving him standing ovation. 


Bikram said...

I find it ludicrous that so many people are praying for SALMAN , he may be a good person or whatever but he has committed a crime for which he needs to be punished.

tomorrow someone will say if salman has been left then y not them ..

It is a shame that the poor who suffered no one has thought about them.. even the ones who are praying for salman are wrong i beleive


Jyoti Dehliwal said...

सही है, बड़े लोगों के सभी गुनाह माफ़ होते है .