news Friday, May 08, 2015 - 05:30
The Bombay High Court on Friday has decided to suspend the five-year imprisonment sentence handed over by a sessions court in Mumbai to actor Salman Khan. What followed Khan's conviction were arguments being presented by some in Bollywood that people shouldn't have been sleeping on the pavement. The entire row seems to be flawed, almost similar to questioning a woman's attire in cases of rape. "He slept on pavement, so he deserved to die", is the logic that most seem to be using. It is also clear from the judgment delivered by sessions court judge DW Deshpande on Wednesday that Salman Khan did not merely go over the pavement and had fared much worse. “The car ran over them and also climbed the three stairs of the American Express Laundry. Nurulla was crushed and died on the spot”, says an extract from the judge’s verdict. The judge had also confirmed in his verdict that Khan was under the influence of alcohol and that the victim Nurullah Sharif’s arms, skull, throat, heart and lungs were crushed completely. From the excerpt of the judgment, it is clear that Khan did not simply go over a pavement, but over three stairs. Singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya apologized for his “insensitive” tweet after a backlash on the social media platform. He had said that “footpaths are not meant for sleeping, not driver’s or alcohol’s fault”.   Come out fraternity, support @BeingSalmanKhan boldly not hypocriticly Roads footpath r not meant 4 sleeping, not driver's or alcohol's fault — abhijeet (@abhijeetsinger) May 6, 2015   Mumbai ke road Aur footpath pe sone ka shauk hai ?? Y not at your village no vehicles to kill u.. Support @BeingSalmanKhan @sonakshisinha — abhijeet (@abhijeetsinger) May 6, 2015   Suicide is crime so is sleeping on footpath..80% homeles film ppl strugld achievd stardom but never slept on footpath @BeingSalmanKhan — abhijeet (@abhijeetsinger) May 6, 2015   In three tweets of increasing “insensitivity”, the singer lashed at out those sleeping on the footpaths. In a piece on DailyO, actress and TV presenter Koel Purie weighed in on the issue. “Many times I've turned that corner, and the one near Lilavati, in my car and missed a leg or an arm of a sleeping dead-tired labourer by an inch. And no, I don't drive under the influence or rashly ever. So tell me, if God forbid one day my car touches them because it's the dark road, where my car is supposed to be and they are not, whose fault is it?” she writes. The line of argumentation being deployed by some members of Bollywood was that Salman wasn’t really at fault and neither were the pavement-dwellers, but the government which hasn’t been able to provide for these people. Fashion designer Farah Ali Khan, the actor’s friend also said that “Change doesn't happen overnight but maybe we can collectively come up with solutions to make sure that people don't die senselessly”. She expressed her concern further.   My concern is genuine one bec there will be many innocent ppl in future who will lose their lives 2drunk drivers for sleeping on d footpath — Farah Khan (@FarahKhanAli) May 8, 2015   The media frenzy around the case had reportedly begun on Tuesday night in anticipation of the verdict on the following day. An NDTV reporter on Thursday morning questioned slum-dwellers about “how they felt” regarding the entire episode. The line of questioning was based on the “insensitivity” of some members of Bollywood who had questioned whether the homeless should be sleeping there. “Where else?” asked one from amongst the crowd who had gathered there. The furore surrounding pavement-dwellers seems to be of no relevance to the case though. If one connects the dots, it is clear that the driver of the car had lost control and a pavement would hardly impede a vehicle moving at such speed that it climbed up three steps and reportedly rammed into the closed shutter of the laundry.    Saying that the homeless shouldn’t sleep on the pavement is branded “insensitive” as the victim can’t be blamed for his/her helplessness. Absolving both sides and putting the blame on the system is the easy way out for us when we feel there’s no one to blame.    Facts from the judgment though seem to state that nothing could have really saved those sleeping on that pavement from a fast-moving car that night.    Also read: Salman gets lucky: First bail, and now Bombay High Court suspends sentence