Shatrughan Sinha: “Salman Doesn’t Deserve This”

The long time well-wisher of Salman, Shatrughan Sinha doesn’t mince words
Shatrughan Sinha: “Salman Doesn’t Deserve This”

Salman Khan may have been released on bail in the black buck poaching case but the last two days were nightmarish for the family. As  India’s biggest star spent his first (sleepless) night  in a prison in Jodhpur on Thursday, back home in Mumbai friend relatives and well-wishers continued to  pour into  the Khan’s residence at Galaxy Apartments in Bandra, Mumbai. Salman’s mother was  not attending to  guests. She had gone to sleep after hearing the  numbing news  about her son. But his father Salim Khan was there to attend to the guests. And  in  great spirits,
says  Shatrughan Sinha, a  family friend and self-professed well-wisher  of Salman and his family, “My daughter Sonakshi reached  Salman’s home much earlier than me  and spent a lot more time with the family. We are very close to the Khan family and  have the  highest regards  for Salman and  his parents. I spent a lot of time with Salim Saab  on Thursday evening. It is always a pleasure to spend time  with him. He  is so well-informed. I call him Salim Pandit. The  current crisis(Salman’s  imprisonment)has  not made him lose his sense  of humour at all. He  was  full of life and  very optimistic about his son’s release soon.” Well, the optimism wasn’t misplaced as Salman was granted bail on Saturday.

Shatrughan Sinha thinks the court verdict has been harsh. “With due respects to the legal process and  to the honourable judge,  I feel Salman has suffered enough in this case. What is his crime? And it’s not just a five-year sentence that seems  very harsh to me. It is  actually twenty years since Salman has been in and out of Jodhpur courts and  prison. Plus the five years that the  Honourable Judge has awarded him now. So it’s in reality a  total of  25 years’ sentence. And why only Salman? There were others with Salman that night when he is alleged to have gone hunting in Jodhpur. He couldn’t have gone alone. His  friends must have been with him in the alleged crime. Why have they been let off without a sentence? Not that I am not happy for them. I am! Saif, Neelam, Sonali Bhendre and Tabu, are all wonderful human beings. But so is Salman. He is  one of  the kindest most  generous human beings I’ve seen. Always ready to help the needy. Salman is a  silent giver, We don’t know even half of the charitable  work that he  does  because  he doesn’t do it for publicity. Salman’s friends who were out with him that  night with him deserve  to be freed from the  constant fear of being held guilty for a crime they probably  never committed. They are  good human beings. But so is Salman. Why give him a prison cell when there’s  so much he can do from  the outside? Give him  community work as punishment. He  will happily do it.”

However the actor-politician refuses to  sympathize  with  producers whose  films may be stuck if Salman  is  imprisoned. “They knew what they were getting into. They  knew  there was a serious court case hanging over him. They went into  their projects with Salman with their  eyes open. We can’t say, ‘Don’t send  him to prison because the  under-production  projects will suffer.’ Every convict that goes to prison leaves behind unfinished projects. Why is an incomplete multi-crore  film more important than a house that an incarcerated architect  leaves  unbuilt, or a novel that an author leaves unwritten?”

Shatruji feels Salman is  paying a price  for being the Salman Khan. “I really feel Salman is being punished for being who  he is. If he was a  commoner he would not have to  suffer for twenty-five  years for  a crime he may or may not have committed.”

Adds  actor Samir Soni whose wife Neelam was also accused in the same black-buck case, “Your stardom or celebrity status goes against you when people try to make an example of you to deter others. It's a double edged sword, it's fine when it's with you but when it's against, it cuts deep. Salman paid the price for being Salman.”

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