When Salman Khan ‘s car rammed a pavement that fateful day in 2002, I suppose people who died or were injured happen to be the primary victims at the spot of the crime. The investigation, the fallout and the judicial proceedings ensuing for the same had a reverse effect. Instead of securing the baton of justice, attempts were merrily made to subvert and cover it up. And in this process, a crime gave birth to more crimes.
It is so well known that Police constable Ravindra Patil who was with Salman Khan at that particular accident died as a destitute and penniless man on the streets. He had refused to change his statement which nailed Salman Khan was in fact drinking and driving and this had ruined his career, life and family. Patil’s condition was a reflection and testimony of what the judiciary of this country is delivering when it comes to the rich and the powerful. His fate is an indication of what will transpire if you stick to the side of the truth when it comes to cult figures. His untimely death in a mentally retarded fashion is a reflection of what happens when seeking justice against the powerful is considered.
As a matter of fact, when the sessions court initially convicted Salman Khan for the hit and run case, it seemed unprecedented in the annals of legal fraternity. Justice Deshpande held the actor guilty of all counts rejecting the notion that the driver was behind the wheels when the deadly accident took place. And by the evening as the whole drama was set in motion on television, the reigning actor was let off on bail and the sentence suspended.
So when now Salman Khan is even let off the black buck case that was pending in Rajasthan, it was nothing surprising or new but duly expected.
How do rich and powerful evade law and get away with it? Honestly the primary thought that would come into mind is that the rich are in cahoots with the political muscle power and money speaks in the corridors of seeking justice.
Manu Sharma, the accused in the famous Jessica Lal murder case who went on a furlough was seen enjoying at bars and reportedly his leave was facilitated by the then Dikshit govt. Similarly, Sanjay Dutt and his string of parole requests and frequent furlough outbursts have superseded convicts with poor economic background. Even when Dutt was convicted, TADA was not applied to him but his driver which again highlighted how the system works. Undoubtedly along with political influence, the impetus in facilitating an excellent cover up and escape is put in place by high end legal brains. So when a 25 lakh a case charging lawyer is appointed perhaps half the battle is won. The other part may be taken care by political closeness these individuals enjoy. Nevertheless, the third aspect is the public that adds onto the circus of impending elitism.
People like Salman Khan may mirror what the population caters for in principle. When he was convicted, the sheer disappointment in the crowd was appalling. The seemingly pictures of riots like a situation, protests and disturbances paved way to bursting crackers and distributing sweets when his sentence was suspended. ‘Being Human’, a public relations exercise used to bolster and savvy his image brainwashes people into believing reformation. When we target politicians for leveraging them with systemic components of the day, lest we forget that incredible cult following that is perpetuated by a common man on the street. ‘200’ crores are riding on them and so he ought to be let off is a convenient covering idiom not just by the people in the system who want to save him but also by those complaining masses who believe law is unfair to the poor but still worship him, catapulting such individuals to an untouchable demi god pedestal.
As Congress took pot-shots at the BJP after Salman Khan was acquitted in the black buck case, they forget to reminiscence hundreds of such let offs that have transpired when they were in power for decades, contributing heavily to the very compromising systemic elitism that cannot be done in with a couple of years. The media and some people who are harping on the Jallikatu ban are sympathetic to a guy who killed an endangered deer and the news of his release just passes off as a celebratory whimper than making a noise. If the media may not be directly but indirectly does put itself through a selective approach which also helps the rich and the famous gather more galvanizing grasp to seek or build a compassionately image creating exercise.
Although these rich and powerful will continue to evade law, the general population have an undue scenic fascination for such cult figures. When so called reformers talk about shunning superstition or uprooting idol worship, a blind eye is displayed when ironically demi gods like Salman Khan in our society are worshiped with much pomp and splendour. And unfortunately this cultism of blind fan following spills over to other arenas like politics and judiciary to help such individuals assume a more dangerous irreplaceable and untouchable identity basking over legal edifices of the day.