Sanjay Dutt has been given six years’ rigorous imprisonment. What will the Shiv Sena MLAs be rewarded with?
Do you think I am saying this because Sanjay is a celebrity? No. I have been harping on justice for the riot victims and for cases against those criminals to be tried for years. The Sena’s Madhukar Sarpotdar did not possess one AK-47, but several arms. And if any of you had visited those areas you would know what devastation was caused by the way he incited not only the public and his henchmen but also the police.
Sanjay Dutt has already spent 15 months in prison in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. Who is culpable for this? The State? The Judiciary? They say that these months will be counted as part of the six-year jail term. I want to know how being put in an ‘anda cell’ is the same as this? He was exonerated from terrorism charges, then how does the state compensate for that? Let us use this example to show the complete arrogance with which the government and justice system operates. Let us raise these questions about the thousands of under-trials in our prisons, about those who are arrested for ‘terrorism’, about encounter deaths. Let us make someone accountable.
And that someone is the Government of India. The Judiciary. The Police. Don’t tell me I am “sympathising” with criminals, because a criminal is not answerable to me or you. The government, the judiciary, the police are. They are our servants. They call themselves public servants.
As usual the language of this verdict by the special TADA court Judge, P D Kode, needs to be examined. Here are a few gems and my reaction:
* Kode also observed it was an "eminently dangerous act" as the weapon possessed by Dutt was capable of mass destruction though the accused had not used the weapons.
This is like saying that because men possess a penis rape is possible.
* Dutt acquired the weapons to "protect" his family in the aftermath of sectarian violence that erupted in Mumbai following the demolition of the Babri mosque in late 1992.
Yes. A lot of people did. The poor in the bastis could not get guns so they learned to make petrol bombs or wanted to. Ask me. I know. And I am saying it. They were bloody scared. You would be if everytime you stepped out you were asked to drop your pants and show that you had a foreskin cut, what the great Shiv Sena chief called “katuas”.
And for that, 15 years later, a Muslim still has difficulty getting an apartment in this metropolis. This too is mass destruction of a community’s identity, self-esteem and the basic right to accommodation. Read Ghettoes reserved for Muslims.
* Kode said the character of the accused is very important while considering if they deserved relief under the POA (Probation of Offenders) Act. He pointed out that apart from possessing the weapons, Dutt was a close acquaintance of Anees Ibrahim and attended a party hosted by Dawood Ibrahim in
Just one party? Go through the archives of newspapers and TV news in good old national Doordarshan. Does the judge want a list of film stars who attended parties, danced at his parties, enjoyed his hospitality?
* Regarding the nature of the crime, Kode said generally, crime happens at the hands of any one man but Dutt drew another person to commit a crime which showed "high element of criminality."
He asked somebody to keep arms. Was the person forced into it? What was the motivation for the other person to follow Dutt’s diktat?
* Kode, however, said the crimes committed by Dutt and his friends Adajania and Nulwalla were not "anti-social, ghastly, inhuman, immoral or pre-planned" and did not cause any harm to the general public.
Great. Thank you. Terms like “mass destruction”, “high level of criminality”, “dangerous act”, bad character…where did they all disappear, Your Honour?
When you keep weapons as protection it is pre-planned.
If, according to law, you possess weapons, it is anti-social.
How do you define “ghastly”? When the barrel of the gun looks ominously into a face? The judge is watching too may Hindi films and those “Shhh…Koi hai” type TV series.
Not inhuman? Good heavens. It cannot be…humans are the worst animals every way you look at it.
Not immoral? But did you not say, My Lord, that the character is very important?
This whole judgment has been a soap opera. I am not going to plead Dutt’s case. But, following the words of the judgment, I would like the same ones applied to the
They will be, won’t they? I would love to see the verdict passed along the lines of anti-social, ghastly, inhuman, immoral, pre-planned.
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Update on a couple of ‘serious’ points on a TV panel discussion:
“This will send out a message that all are equal before the law.”
How many politicians and their family members are given such sentences, if they are arrested at all? How many bureaucrats? How many industrialists?
“He acted in films playing the role of the don or criminal. Then suddenly he changed into this Munnabhai.”
This is such a weak accusation. Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Hritik Roshan have all enacted such roles at different points in time. And our nice guy Govinda was one of the stars photographed with Dawood Ibrahim. He became a Member of Parliament.