Sanjay Dutt sentencing: Is it Salman Khan’s turn next?

Cineswami wonders why Indians, including Superstar Rajinikanth, are sympathising with Sanjay Dutt over his imprisonment in the 1993 bomb blasts case. And is Salman Khan going to jail, too?

There is an extraordinary outpouring of love and support for Sanjay Dutt after his recent sentencing. It is only understandable that Bollywood rallies together for one of her own, and even more so, given that there is around Rs 250 crore riding on his unfinished projects. What is not so understandable is that we, the great Indian public, are also clamouring for the fallen star’s release and pardon with the main exonerating factors being Dutt was young and stupid; he was misled; 20 years have passed; he’s already spent time in jail and so on. The same Indian public are vehement when they desire harsh sentences for common criminals or corrupt politicians.

The real question is, why should there be one law for Bollywood stars and another for the rest of us? It is not for the public or the media to decide a person’s guilt or exoneration. However creaky, there is a system of law and a judiciary at work here. The due process of law has taken 20 long years to arrive at a verdict and once it has, we must abide by it. And let’s face it, if you, the average Aisha or Ashok, everyman or woman, not a Bollywood star but the star of your own lives, without a member of parliament for your father or sister, were found in possession of assault rifles and hand grenades, the cell doors would have been slammed shut faster than you can say Sanjay Dutt.

Meanwhile, the darling of the masses, Salman Khan, is also due to face trial on manslaughter charges for an incident that occurred more than 10 years ago in which one man died and four others were grievously injured. If Salman is tried and found guilty, he’ll no doubt appeal and like Dutt the case will drag on for another decade. Check back here in 2023, folks.

Dutt has four weeks to surrender and is also eligible to appeal. Unlike before, he has divinity on his side now. “I was very disturbed when I heard my friend and a lovely person Sanjay Dutt’s verdict. The current support and appeal for his pardon is giving me hope. I pray to god that he gets remedy and spends at least the rest of his life peacefully,” says Supesrtar Rajinikanth.

Amidst all this brouhaha, the likes of Puru Raajkumar and Shiney Ahuja must be having a quiet laugh over a blackbuck dinner cooked by masterchefs Saif Ali Khan and Salman.