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Indian law delivers ‘justice’ to Salman Khan

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Salman Khan was finally acquitted of serious charges of running over five people, killing one and seriously injuring four while ‘allegedly’ driving his Land Cruiser on the fateful night of September 28, 2002. The Bombay High Court said that the prosecution had failed to establish “beyond doubt” that the actor was driving the car and was drunk at the time of the accident.

While giving this judgment, the court disregarded and discredited the testimony of Ravindra Patil – Khan’s bodyguard and a key prosecution witness – who had said that the Bollywood superstar was driving in an inebriated condition and had ignored his repeated warnings.

According to the judge, Patil was “partly reliable” and could not be considered a “wholly reliable witness” and that the sessions court committed a mistake by relying on his statement.

“On the basis of evidence produced by the prosecution, (Salman Khan) cannot be convicted, no matter how differently the common man thinks,” the judge said.

Verily, may I ask, my Lords, have common man’s views ever mattered to you? The truth is Indian law is not blind; it is the slave to the rich and powerful, meant to be broken by them with impunity; only the common man is supposed to follow the law and be punished for breaking it.

Alas, the vices of the poor people wearing old and torn clothes come to the fore easily while the same from big people like judges get hidden behind the robes and furred gowns they wear. Shakespeare writes in King Lear that the bitter truth is a sinner occupying a high status in life goes entirely unpunished while a sinner who belongs to a low and humble life cannot escape punishment. Sigh!

Ironically, this judgment comes when the world is observing the Human Rights Day.

Ponder over this – five wretched, destitute people sleeping over the footpath were crushed under Khan’s car and the first thing the actor did was to run away to home; a homeless human being, Nurullah Mahboob Shaikh, died on the spot that night. What about his human rights? Khan who runs a charitable trust ‘Being Human’ failed the test of humanity then.

But do we even consider people sleeping over footpath as human beings? One can only protect the human rights of those who are fortunate enough to have them in the first place. Justice and human rights go hand in hand and the former should be the basis on which the latter should be assessed. If a poor man’s family cannot avail justice in India even after running from pillar to the post for years, it only means the majority of the country’s population that lives below the poverty line is being deprived of the basic privilege i.e. the Right to Life.

It’s always the common man’s fault. When a young girl died after her car was hit by Hema Malini’s Mercedes, the latter blamed her father for “not following traffic rules.”

When Salman was convicted in the hit-and-run case, yesteryear’s actor Sanjay Khan’s daughter Farah Khan blamed Nurullah for sleeping over the footpath, calling upon the government to ensure housing for such people.

https://twitter.com/FarahKhanAli/status/595860619724660736

Today, the actor’s delirious fans are celebrating on the streets by dancing and bursting crackers, not realizing that a man – who had eyes, hands, five senses, passions and emotions – died allegedly because of their God-like ‘bhai’.

In fact, the common man has become accustomed to being subjected to such injustices. The truth is – and this is not in regard to this particular case – no institution in India is allegedly more corrupt than the judiciary.

From petty cases to high-profile ones, it is widely believed that judges give favorable judgments in lieu of a huge (or small) amount of money. I was once told by an acquaintance how a relative of his was acquitted of a criminal offence by paying a bribe to the judge. I cannot ascertain the veracity of his claims, but the common man’s experiences are not hidden from anyone.

According to  justice Markandey Katju (retd), 50% of the higher judiciary consisting of SC and high court judges is corrupt.

“My assessment is that 50% of the higher judiciary has become corrupt,” Katju said in September this year. He also claimed that no action was taken after he handed over a dossier on Chief Justice of India HL Dattu’s alleged properties to then law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and others.

“I was targeted by former chief justice RM Lodha for my views. Let it all be investigated. SC judges are annoyed. But I am not bothered…,” Katju claimed.

Until and unless efforts are made to cleanse the judiciary that is supposed deliver justice to one and all, we would not be able to find lasting solutions to India’s social issues.

Justice should not only be done but must also be seen to be done.

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Newcomer Aayush Sharma Says, My Aim is to Prove That I Deserve to be an Actor

Aayush Sharma is ready to make his foray into the Hindi filmdom with romantic drama "Loveratri", the trailer of which will come out on Monday.

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Aayush Sharma, Husband of Salman Khan's Sister Arpita Khan. Flickr
Aayush Sharma, Husband of Salman Khan's Sister Arpita Khan. Flickr

He is not in denial that he is getting a Bollywood launchpad due to his relation with superstar Salman Khan, but newcomer Aayush Sharma says his aim is to prove he deserves to be an actor.

Aayush, who married Salman’s sister Arpita in 2014, is ready to make his foray into the Hindi filmdom with romantic drama “Loveratri”, the trailer of which will come out on Monday. The film is produced by Salman, whose support is “comforting” to the debutant.

“I am very lucky and privileged that he is there to guide me in the right direction,” Aayush told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

“He used to guide me properly, and told me that ‘It’s not about the number of auditions you are giving, but about when you give an audition, how good you are’. I trained with Salman bhai for four years, and he was very particular in saying, ‘Listen, I can give you a debut, but after that when you go in front of the camera, it’s your job to act and perform… I can’t do that for you’.

“He told me, ‘Remember, the fame of being an actor is very good, but it’s not good when your film doesn’t work because then you are subject to a lot of conversation that this film didn’t work and he is not a good actor.’ He motivated me to be a 100 per cent ready when I do my first film,” said Aayush, further describing Salman as a “big support system, helpful, understanding and a tough taskmaster”.

At one point, Aayush — who hails from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh — had preconceived notions about acting, like most people.

“Everyone thinks acting is about looking good, having a good body, stand in front of the camera, remember your lines and that’s about it. But when I went on set, I realised the hardwork behind it. I understood that I wasn’t ready for it. I wasn’t ready to take the pressure that somebody would mount a film on my shoulders.

Aayush Sharma with wife Arpita. Flickr
Aayush Sharma with wife Arpita. Flickr

 

“When you walk into a set, you realise it’s not about ‘me’, it’s about so many people working on a film and their career is dependent on the fate of that film. That’s when I understood that I was not very prepared to be in front of the camera.”

Aayush, who comes from a political family in Mandi and did his schooling in Delhi, then resolved to learn to be comfortable in front of the camera, dance and understand the ropes.

“I made a conscious decision that only when I can go ahead and do something good, will I start acting in a film. I didn’t want (that) just because I am related to Salman bhai, I ask people to give me a launch, and not be worthy enough. I understand my launch is all because of Salman bhai. But my only effort is that when people see the film and come out of the theatre, they feel he deserves to be an actor.

“‘Irrespective of the fact that he is related to Salman bhai, he deserves to be an actor and he did good’. I think that’s what my goal is.”

As of now, Aayush doesn’t want to call himself an actor.

If someone asks me, ‘Are you an actor?’ I can just say ‘I know how to entertain’. I think after a career of 20 years, I can turn around and say I am an actor, but as of now, I am just an entertainer,” said the father of one — son Ahil.

Also Read: Mika Says Its Difficu;t to Make Salman and SRK Dance Together

What’s his plan after “Loveratri”?

“There are conflicting thoughts in my mind right now. One part says let’s move on, sign another project, and when ‘Loveratri’ comes out, we will promote it properly and see. The other thought is to see how well I am received as a romantic actor and then see should I get into action, thriller or find out what’s the right path.”

“Loveratri”, a story set in Gujarat, also features Warina Hussain and is directed by first-timer Abhiraj Minawala. (IANS)