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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sanjay Dutt pardon ~ an actor who promoted Gandhism !!

At the outset, I am a firm believer that Cinema is only entertainment and nothing beyond….my knowledge of Hindi Cinema is too microscopic and I cannot identify most of the heroines….. !!  but  am simply unable to understand why there is so much clamour on a sentence…… which every newspaper reports to be rather mild, still talks of pardon beyond the purview of law….is an actor so important for the Nation ? or is it that am unable to understand something rudimentary.   My father taught me that one should never exploit or enjoy the difficulty of others….

I have not followed this earlier but now upon reading the scenario understood by me is : a case of conviction of a person for illegal possession of an assault weapon, an AK-56 rifle, is upheld by the Supreme Court. The weapon is part of a larger consignment that will be used to carry out the deadliest terrorist attacks on that country's financial capital. The convict has also met, hugged and had phone conversations with the masterminds of this terror conspiracy - men whose name repeatedly figure in the infamous "most wanted" lists. In the past, he has also illegally possessed a pistol. Along with him, about 100 others are found guilty. But there is a powerful political and societal lobby that sympathises with him and pushes for his pardon, arguing that his punishment is too severe.

In short, this is the story of a convicted criminal named Sanjay Dutt. That he happens to be an actor in India's powerful Hindi film industry called Bollywood, that his parents, too, were in the same profession and were honest and sincere social workers, and that his father and sister were and are members of India's Parliament are all secondary factors and should be of little importance. Perhaps you all know Sanjay Dutt better ~ read that Sanjay Dutt, son of film actors Sunil Dutt and Nargis Dutt, made his acting debut in 1981. He has since featured in films that are amongst some of the most popular Hindi language films of the past three decades.

On 21 March 2013, Supreme Court of India convicted Sunjay Dutt in the illegal possession of arms relating to the 1993 Mumbai blastscase and sentenced him to 5 years imprisonment. Earlier he had been sentenced to 6 years imprisonment by a TADA court. He has been ordered to surrender within four weeks from 21 March 2013 when the judgement was given. Most Press stated that Dutt was let off under the more stringent Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, and was convicted under the Arms Act for illegal possession of guns.

From that time, prominent time in media has been arguing on the pardon to Dutt and there is news that the Governor of Maharashtra is reportedly set to consult the state government on the possibility of granting a pardon.  The report further states that the Governor  has been beset by appeals from a number of prominent personalities, asking him to pardon the actor.

Chairman of Press Council of India, Justice Katju, wrote a letter to Governor of Maharashtra, asking him to consider a pardon for a number of reasons, including the fact that he was not a terrorist, and that his parents had done a lot of social work.  He is not alone in the clamour as there are Jaya Prada, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, actor Rajinikanth and even West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking that he be pardoned.

Every newsitem try to mention that there are projects estimated at Rs 100 crore riding on him; does that or should that impact any punishment is not written in the same breathe. Digvijay singh has made many controversial statements had he feels that Dutt should be pardoned.   Justice Katju lists out various reasons such as : Sanjay has suffered a lot; he underwent tribulations and indignities; he  had to go to court often; he is married and has 2 small kids…

What happened to the victims of bomb blasts – did they enjoy their life or have other persons who have had to loiter in the court verandahs allowed to earn when on bail.  When asked my friend stated that under TADA, at the point of time, possessing an illegal weapon in a notified area - which Mumbai was - automatically attracted the stringent act. Hence, he was booked and tried for terror charges just like the others. Lawyers are surprised that he was let off by the courts on this count.
One of the outrageous reasons seeking pardon that he through film revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the message of Gandhiji, the father of the nation. By the same token, will Sanjay or for that matter any actor be tried for playing shady roles of criminals and articulating underworld and mafia dons….  If there is a legal provision of the power of pardon by the Governor, should that be exercised for these reasons ! and can any such action single out an individual for favourable treatment solely on the basis of his popularity. If accepted, the demand would entrench the belief that the country has two parallel systems of justice — one for the privileged and another for the rest.  The  Kalashnikov was not a toy and was not bought in any mall but  came through underworld gangs and was linked to the consignment of explosives used to perpetrate the Mumbai serial blasts, though Dutt may not have known that !!

The arms landed at two places in Raigad district and one in Gujarat. The Gujarat consignment was hidden in the cavity of a vehicle and brought to Mumbai by road, driven by Abu Salem, who went on to become a prominent gangster.  On 12th Mar 1993 there were coordinated attacks in Bombay and explosions killed over 250 and maimed more hundreds ~ making their lives miserable.  Supreme Court of India gave its judgement on 21st March 2013 after over 20 years of judicial proceedings.  The two  main accused in the case Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon have not yet been arrested and not tried.

People are entitled to their opinion but still… should popularity override punishment !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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  2. Ignorance & young age are not an excuses. You reap what you sow. Goddess of law is blindfolded and does not see what is there on the pan but sees what is the weight of fault and disburses commensurate penalty.

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  5. A nation that exults in the execution of Ajmal Kasab and, without pausing for a breath, breaks into sloganeering "Afzal Guru NEXT" suddenly discovers a soft corner for a film hero. We are like this only!!

  6. Sanjay Dutt has rightly chosen faith over fear. However, there are some active pressure groups and interests who, with media and political connivance are able to flout the law and avoid the consequences, and in the process achieve their ends. In the instant case also some one who aspires for Congi ticket in 2014, politicians with eye on vote bank and film personalities who may suffer losses, are hell bent on seeking. To see more info please visit
    pardon for the celebrity.