Perhaps it’s their desire to have some of that stardust rub off on them, but cops have always been lenient — to the point of making their sycophancy evident — when it comes to dealing with Bollywood stars or politicians found on the wrong side of the law.
Salman Khan is not the only celebrity that the cops have taken time to ‘find ’and summon to the law courts. When Saif Ali Khan got into scuffle with an NRI at a five-star hotel in south Mumbai, he remained untraceable throughout the day, and was arrested from his lawyer’s office at Nariman Point only after his bail plea was ready. He was let off on bail within 90 minutes of the arrest. And we all remember how the Shahrukh Khan-Shirsh Kunder slapgate was hushed up to save the superstar some embarrassment.
Special treatment is not just reserved for actors. Several politicians and cricketers too have escaped punishment in the past. Before the 1999 World Cup, a famous cricketer rammed his car into a Maruti 800 in Bandra, yet no case was registered. A few months ago, rules were bent to let a politician’s wife off the hook after she rammed her car into pedestrians at Kherwadi, Bandra.
While the celebrities and politicians with their ‘high connections’ soar above the reach of the long arm of the law, the common man is faced with harshest of penalties, even for petty crimes. Sometimes, the cops in their zeal even forget to apply the correct sections of the IPC: remember the Palghar Facebook case not so long ago? Or Aseem Trivedi? The cops lost no time in making arrests then.
Collective anger and public demonstrations should be the citizen’s last resort in a democracy, not his only option. Let the laws and their application be uniform for all.