Though many citizens call it ‘landmark judgement’, victims of 2002 hit-and-run case say they are not affected by it. They want compensation.
Mohammad Kaleem, who was under 23 when Salman’s vehicle hit him, fracturing a leg and injuring him in a hand and the back, told Indian Express:
“My back aches if I stretch it. I still have to take medicines when it becomes unbearable. My livelihood was affected and I can’t earn anymore. My younger brothers take care of me now. The verdict doesn’t really affect us in any way. How do we benefit if he is sent to jail? I received Rs 1.5 lakh in compensation, but it was spent on my treatment. We’re poor and the jail term won’t fill our stomachs.”
Abdullah Rauf Shaikh, another of the victims who hails from UP, told Times of India:
“What’s the point of getting the judgment after such a long time? We heard lots of good things about Salman in our village and in the city that he helps the poor and needy. But he did nothing for us. Sometimes I used to think that he will come to us, try to understand our family problem and provide us with some help. But it remained a fantasy. I believed that all his helping hand stories are imaginary.”
Mohammad Muslim, another victim hailing from Gonda, had fractured his thigh and after claiming he had seen Salman get down from the right side of the car, backtracked on his statement.
Abdul Shaikh, was one of the four victims whose right foot came under the vehicle’s wheels. His colleague Mohd Aziz said that the cost of his treatment was taken care of “anonymously”.
It appears that although some claim that justice has been done, it has failed in helping the victims in any form. Punishing the guilty is not enough; a justice system must also find a way to properly compensate the victims – as is done in the West.