As the noise around Salman Khan’s verdict and eventual bail finally seems to lessen, it is perhaps time for stock taking. 13 long years have passed since Salman’s car killed Nurulla Sharif on that ill fated night. How has his family reacted to the court-room hubbub? What has been their concern?
For the grieving family who lives were ruined that night, it is the compensation amount that they are more worried about than the actual sentence. In the words of Nurulla’s wife, Begum Jahan as told to news agency PTI, “We were told we will get a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh, but what will we do of that amount at this time of inflation.” She feels she will be truly benefitted if her son gets a decent job. Nurulla’s son Feroze was still in school when the accident happened. But he had to discontinue his studies as they lost the wherewithal to continue further. He resorted to odd jobs, his mother, Begum Jahan, who was till then a housewife was forced to work as a domestic aid to support the family.
A lot of claim and support has be drummed up for Salman Khan saying that though he was involved in this unfortunate accident but on the other hand he is a great humanitarian, given away millions in charity, runs a NGO named Being Human, provides a way of life to many impoverished. While I am no one to raise a question mark on any of these claims, it baffles me that a such a great humanitarian would do nothing to rehabilitate and support a family who bore the brunt of his careless and drunken driving escapades.
Not only Nurulla Shiekh’s family. That night had a few other casualties too. Mohammed Kalim, another employee at a local bakery in Bandra, Mumbai too was injured that night and lost a limb. Ever since he had to relocate to Bihar and has been unable to get any proper job. Even he has emphasised how badly they are in need of the promised compensation money and the sentencing hardly makes a difference to them.
The session court Judge who delivered the 5-year imprisonment verdict for Salman Khan had ruled out additional compensation and Khan’s lawyer has claimed that Rs 19 Lakh has been paid as aggregate compensation to all the 5 victims of that ill fated night. The question is what happened to the money?