Social media is abuzz with celebrity and fan messages, memes, jokes and opinions on the 2002 hit and run case verdict. There is a huge fan base out there voicing against the Mumbai Sessions Court verdict and rigorous imprisonment for five years sentence. But here’s why I think they’re being unfair!
Salman Khan supporters have come out in large numbers to support their Bhai. I wasn’t least bit surprised to see Unfair Verdict On Salman trend on Twitter. I understand where this staunch loyalty towards the actor stems from. When I say ‘I understand’, I really do. But what’s appalling is the fact that everybody fails to see the incident that took place on wee hours of September 28 2002 and are instead focusing on the last few years of Salman Khan. What’s worse is the ones calling this judgement unfair are being exactly that while taking sides with the actor. Now I’m not anti Salman. In fact I have had the privilege of meeting the actor for some of his filmi interviews and not just that I remember on his return from US post the treatment for Trigeminal neuralgia. I had the opportunity to discuss things beyond his movies. The actor had missed Eid and his birthday celebrations in Mumbai and was busy shooting for Ek Tha Tiger. This was not so long ago in 2012. Salman talked like any other guy and it was endearing to listen to this mega star confess that he missed mom Salma Khan’s home-cooked Biryani. How he loves Bandra and will forever be a ‘Bandra boy’, the actor had quipped. The actor also talked about his friend Himesh Reshammiya and the singer’s father, their humanitarian work. Now we all know that the actor himself does a lot of charity, but he wasn’t going gaga about his own work. He’s indeed a man with a golden heart, he passionately feels about his work beyond Bollywood.

But, that discussion is for another day. Today it is about an accident that had happened 13 years ago and which’s judgement was long awaited. An accident that had repercussions on lives of people. Thirteen years is a long time and we all know that public memory is short-lived. So it’s time to jog back, it wasn’t just one life that was lost in this accident, one simply cannot forget a certain Ravindra Patil, a constable who was trained to be commando. A key witness to Salman’s hit and run case, Patil’s life and story after Khan’s drunken driving episode is truly tragic. Here was a commando who not only lived a life of a criminal on the run, but also went behind the bars for no real fault of his. In Ravindra Patil’s case, justice delayed was indeed justice denied. Not to forget the irreparable damage that this accident had done to the ones who were injured badly on that fateful day.

The victims have forgiven the actor and do not seek punishment. The fans are questioning the court’s verdict and hoping that their hero goes scot free. The family wants their brother to be free of any legal shackles. But we hope Salman who asked the judge to treat him like a ‘normal citizen’ and is currently out a two-day interim bail revisits the moments of September 28 2002 and asks himself if indeed five years is indeed too harsh a punishment and answers to himself in indeed life was unfair to him. Coz if it were, then all I’d say is life has been a [email protected] to the victims and Patil!