The robbery should have taken 10 minutes. 4 hours later, the bank was like a circus sideshow. 8 hours later, it was the hottest thing on live T.V. 12 hours later, it was all history. And it's all true...
That’s the tag line from the movie “Dog day afternoon”, a comic tragedy. Three men decide to rob a bank, one quits before starting and the other two find out the bank hardly has any money. One terrible situation follows another as it becomes a circus on Live TV. The Romans considered the star Sirius to bring about dog day afternoons in summer when people get edgy, seats are hot and things go haywire. But hey, we can beat the Romans. Our circus started in the morning on April 17 with two events. First it was Sanjay Dutt getting a one-month extension to go to jail, the other was a bomb blast in Bangalore and both happened within minutes of each other around 10.30am.
While friends and supporters of Sanjay Dutt (SD) have small reason to cheer, the SC decision to allow him another month to surrender is a bad precedent and damages the cause of justice. SD was not an accused when the SC held him guilty on his appeal of the conviction in the 1993 Bombay blasts, he was already a convict. His lawyer’s argument for seeking a 6-month extension was purely on “mercy and humanitarian” grounds and not any legal ground. SD had 20 years of freedom since his crime (except the 18 months he spent in jail) to travel anywhere, make all the movies, make all the money. And now he wanted 6 months to surrender because he has a few unfinished movies, producers have around 300 crores invested in those movies and many would suffer. Absurd! If the SC didn’t find any legal argument it is indeed surprising why it gave him a one-month extension to surrender. Why he was previously given four weeks to surrender after the judgement itself is a mystery.
One of the biggest messages that the SC needed to send out to Bollywood, political parties and corporate bodies was: Do not invest in criminals and convicts. It failed to do so. It is routine for our media to glorify criminals and convicts from the super-rich category. The SC decision gives them hope and belief that the super-rich can get away by hiring the best lawyers. By denying SD any extension the SC would have sent out a stern message to many that if they invest in criminals they too will pay the price. It has now opened the doors for other convicts like Salman Khan who carry huge investments who will now seek extensions upon extensions because crores are riding on them. There are other “private citizens” who are busy writing pardon petitions for them. In short, the Indian justice system is merciful to the rich and powerful. In contrast, Tiger Woods lost many sponsorship deals because of his multiple affairs even though there was nothing illegal and he wasn’t a convict. Let’s not forget, Sanjay Dutt even wanted to contest elections on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Crime pays in India! Not having found luck then, he had to join Congress. Naturally!
After the tragic Boston blasts during the Marathon on April 16 when Barack Obama said “… they will face the full weight of justice” one can imagine what that really means in American terms. We also know now what the weight of justice in Indian terms means. We have a system where convicted terrorists are protected by State resolutions, there are specialists in mercy petitions and there are State ministers who protest the sentence. The worst part is there are states who honour convicted killers with memorials. The circus around Sanjay Dutt was interrupted (luckily for our media) only because of another event that would lead to a bigger circus on TV, the Bangalore blasts near the BJP office. The previous night Rajdeep Sardesai was comparing the American response to the Boston blasts and the reporting of the incident and was wondering if there could be lessons learnt. In less than 24 hours his own channel would turn terror into a comic circus. That’s CNN-IBN for you.
The TV channels must have picked up the Bangalore blast story from Twitter and must have been upset to interrupt the SD story. All of them started with an “LPG cylinder blast” in a car. The CNN-IBN reporter first said “no casualties, no one injured”. An hour later the same channel reported “cause of blast unknown”. After every channel had spun some stupid theory of the blast the CNN-IBN anchor (Shreya Dhondiyal) had to directly caution her own reporter with the advice “please refrain from speculation”. If justice turned into comedy trust our TV channels to turn even a terror attack into comedy. Without the slightest confirmation they kept stating an LPG cylinder in a car had exploded. They had no idea if anyone was injured. They had not even spoken to any eye-witnesses as they were reported. Welcome to Dog day morning!
Let us not spare the policemen and the politicians who are always in a great hurry to give out sound-bites as if their bladders were about to burst. It speaks very poorly of our police when they start talking to media without clear information. Talking to the media in such a situation should be the last priority for policemen. It not only adds to mindless speculation but to the circus on TV. And there’s the junior Home Minister saying “don’t politicise” but he doesn’t know his own party too well. His colleague beat him to it by claiming the blast will benefit the BJP in the upcoming elections since it was to the BJP office. Before you know it, if any suspects are rounded up, the “Social Genius” will be writing about how “innocent Muslims” are being harassed by the police. There will be another round of “Terror has no religion” nonsense from the politicians from all parties. If this continued through into Dog day afternoon, can it stop from turning into a major circus during prime time TV? We are lucky!
The biggest circus in the country surely has to be on the Arnab Goswami show on TimesNow. With 10 panellists being used as acrobats and Arnab playing ringleader it is now the best circus in the country. After every terror attack there is usually someone from J&K to play victim and protest the conviction and hanging of Afzal Guru. While lamenting the inaction against terrorism Dr. Subramanian Swamy suggested bombing of terrorist camps in POK and immediately the guy from National Conference (some Mr.Baig) immediately protests and says “they are our brothers”. Really? People in terrorist camps are brothers for the NC? I am starting to believe this Baig is indeed speaking the truth. I’m sure in some corner of the world the terrorists and their handlers are watching Arnab’s shows and those on other channels and laughing about how stupid the response to terrorism is. It’s a lesson long learned that Media, Politicians and crime-investigation don’t go together.
Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted early morning on April 17 that he was dipping good old Glucose biscuits in tea for breakfast. Well, those biscuits do go limp having gone through the heat treatment but Rajdeep surely must have found a great news-day with Sanjay Dutt and the Bangalore blast with his channel leading from the front. The biscuits may have gone limp but the Dog day morning must have more than made up.
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