Sunday, 10 May 2015


source: google
For the last few days, media stories in India was dominated by the ‘Hit and Run’ case that happened in 2002 involving Bollywood super star Salman Khan. The kind of coverage given to this case with diverse views and opinions made me make my own observations and decided to write what I thought about it but, I abandoned it after some paragraphs.  With the issue not dying down easily with fresh twist and turns being given to the entire episode, I decided to put my little perspective on this issue.
Right from the onset, I must make it clear here that, I am neither a legal expert nor do I posses much understanding of how legal system works.  Whatever is written is entirely my personal view. Drawing reference from Salman’s case, I just want to present my simple understanding on how, while serving various peripheral interests; people may in fact be losing the real perspective of the issue itself at hand.

This is reported to be a case that took place in 2002 in Mumbai, the state capital of Maharashtra with a car running over some people sleeping on the pavement. One person lost his life and some others injured badly. The controversy still rages on with some saying, the actor was driving while others including the accused, now convicted in the case, denying it. Some saying there were four people inside the car while others say there were three.

Whatever, a case was registered against the actor. One of the key witnesses was the bodyguard provided by police to the actor, who unfortunately died of TB in 2007. There were lots of discrepancies on how things took over from that moment including the incidences leading to testing the actor for alcohol level in his blood, according to reports.

It was unfortunate, that the case took 12 years to come to a conclusion. The people who suffered the most were the victims who are poor and some of who lost their livelihood from debilitating injuries they sustained. It was unfortunate for them. Despite the fact that the case took so long, Salman had reportedly obliged to court’s direction and have attended all the hearings leading up to his conviction recently.

While media is still having field day with the issue because it involved a high profile celebrity, the case in itself is something that happens every day on Indian roads. Some are more horrific and yet make just a mere mention at best and soon the cases are forgotten. Some may have even escaped justice while victims suffer with not much compensation paid to victims and media hardly follow those stories later. However since a superstar is involved in this particular incidence, it continues to get all the attentions from media.

It was also understood that, following the accident, the trial court ordered the actor to submit over 19 lakhs Rupees to compensate victims which the actor did immediately and was even willing to make further compensations. This was reportedly barred by the court ordering the actor not to make further compensations and also to refrain from visiting those victims apparently in a bid to prevent him from buying witnesses. While compensations for the rest of the victim have reportedly been made, the family of the deceased is yet to receive their compensations because of disagreement between the deceased father and his widow.
source: google
As is the procedure, the culprit must be tried and sentenced for whatever laws he must have broken that night. The actor was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in jail. This was hailed by many people as law being impartial irrespective of status. The law also provides defendant his right to defend himself within the legal provisions. So, he exercised his right and secured interim bail and within two days moved High Court and secured reprieve. And this time the same people began questioning the fairness of justice system. Isn’t this cynicism? Why the case took 12 long years to conclude is something that is for the system to look at and make remedies if necessary.

I have been watching debates of all kind on Indian televisions. Never ever had an entire panelist agreed on any issue like they did on the legality of court granting bail to the actor. At times, I had the feeling that it was media which seem to disagree with court’s decision and make it look like the entire decision being influenced by money and star power. This could be why oftenmoderators found themselves against panelists who all seem to agree to the correctness of all the procedures followed in the actor being granted bail.

Another interesting observation was about the views of the victims. They said that, they are least bothered by the conviction or the sentence handed over to the actor.
“All we are looking for is some kind of monetary compensations that can alleviate our sufferings. We are least concerned with his sentencing,” said one of the victims. Media repeatedly failed to highlight on the aspirations of the victims.

What is interesting is that, the actor who is well known for his charitable activities was willing to look after the well beings of the victims irrespective of the outcome of the case. This is exactly what the survivors want and he is willing to do just that. For the victims only such an action can bring about the real difference to the lives affected by the accident. The concerns for media, authorities and social workers must be on how best victims’ sufferings can be eased.

source: google
I was also asking myself how the situation would be handled if it was in our country. There would be definitely pain, anguish and sufferings but at the end, if there is no motive, the parties will come to a compromise called Nangkha Nangdrik and matter settled amicably. The victims need not wait 12 years for justice. Justice will also be served in accordance with law for the culprit within few days or weeks. The departed soul will also rest in peace when there is no wrangling and bickering in the aftermath. The affected family can devote their precious times praying and helping the soul find peace and in rehabilitating those injured.

Finally, I would reiterate here that, this is my personal view on an issue that has dominated Indian media in the recent days making it look complicated. All I am asking myself is why don’t we make things simple by not forgetting the crux of the issue. The crux of the issue here according to me is that, an accident has taken place in which poor victims are involved. And their sufferings need to be alleviated fast rather than the issue being made a good fodder for all sorts of wrangling in public domain simply because it involved a film star. This is flip side of being a superstar. Nothing can get away that easily.

Happy Reading

Gyembo Namgyal

May10, 2015 9:00pm

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