Wth Sanjay Dutt’s judgement in the offing, the film industry is organizing a massive show of support. The RMM party is planning a rally in protest against the life sentence awarded to Shibu Soren. But what is most alarming is the Sidhu issue. He bashed a man to death in an incident of road rage eighteen years back but continued to play cricket; then became a commentator, an anchor, a very visible face on TV and therefore, finally a politician. Yesterday, on the fourth of December, he was convicted and sentenced to three years RI but given time till Jan 13 to appeal. Sidhu will appeal and keep himself out of prison for sometime.
True, it was not a premeditated, prepalanned murder but culpable homicide not amounting to murder. That said, let’s take another look at the whole issue, and a few worrisome facts will emerge.
· Had it been someone else in sidhu’s shoes, would he have been able to go on as he did with his high profile, highly visible existence, as if nothing had happened?
· Agreed. Sidhu was a national asset when the road rage happened. Does that mean that the democratic system that is ours should sideline the right to life of the Indian citizen Gurnam singh simply because he fell victim to celebrity rage?
· The most disgusting aspect of this issue is the callousness and smug confidence of Sidhu himself. For once, Sidhuism was terribly out of place – no. not just out of place. It was indecent, brash, insensitive and disgusting. ‘I have lit a lamp in many a storm’ said Navjot Sidhu after he was sentenced. With the top lawyer – cum - BJP spokesman Arun Jaitley by his side and the huge fan gathering expressing solidarity with lit candles, he knew he would get away with it. Never a word of apology, or any hint of regret at having taken a life. He behaves like a man who is fighting for the right to kill in a fit of anger, and get away with it! A man fighting for his right to be more equal than others!
· Equally disturbing is the resolve of the BJP to make him its ‘star campaigner’ in Punjab’!!!!!!. What’s the message the party wishes to convey? Violate every law of the land. Commit any serious crime you wish. We have a berthe for you if you can get us votes. How safe are our fundamental rights in the hands of such a party if it comes to power?
· Finally, the massive public support for a man who battered a human being to death. The reports say that it mattered nothing to the youngsters who were interviewed, that Siddhu was guilty of a extremely serious crime of assaulting a man to death FOR NO REASON. It was not in sef defence. It was not a drunken bout. It was a sheer display of arrogance from a person whose celebrity status had gone to his head to the extend of making him ruthless. Do we need such leaders? Does Punjab need such a chief minister, as he might well become? Is there such a poverty of law abiding citizens in that state?
There is something seriously wrong with our country. The rich, the powerful and the famous are gaining more and more confidence to commit grievous crimes, and the citizens are showing more and more willingness, not only to condone their criminal acts and forget their criminal past but also warmly embrace them into their fold. A dangerous trend reflective of erosion of a sense of right and wrong.