Last few days have witnessed much buzz and gossip around the convicted Bollywood star Salman Khan's animal poaching case. This incident dates back to 1998, around twenty years back where Salman along with his 'Hum Saath Saath hai' co-actors were charged with killing of endangered species called Blackbuck under Wild life Protection Act.
Honestly, I am not a Salman Khan fan, neither I am in a position to favour or disfavour him because of the fact that I don't exactly know whether he is innocent or really guilty, so I can't really comment over the verdict. But what catches my attention is to see some so-called civilized people boasting and acclaiming the great judicial system of India which doesn't even spare a person having "allegedly" hunted two animals down. To me personally, the word 'alleged' makes much more sense than any other thing related to this issue as there is so much hubbub about the matter which is not even properly proven yet, a charge which is asserted or supposed but not certain. It is good to appraise the system which has woken up, better late than never, to finally grant justice to the great grand children of the blackbucks that were hunted almost two decades back, a time span huge enough to have turned even the young Salman Khan to seemingly old Salman Khan. Amidst all this, I fail to suffice myself to understand as to why justice seems so out of reach for the land which again is an integral part of India. "allegedly"! Considering the hype, series of questions storm my mind as to why there is no system laid for those who kill and those who get killed in this part of India which is Kashmir. If the system in India can wake up after twenty long years to punish the alleged hunter then why does the same system feign a blind eye when it comes to punishing the killers of innocent civilians who are gunned down if they protest against the violences committed by the forces.
Prior to poaching case, we witnessed the days of bloodshed in the valley which marked the death of four civilians, also leaving hundreds of people injured and almost crippled for lifetime, some of them still fighting the battle of life. So, all those people who are all up for punishing the killer of animals sadly do not find the loss of human life in valley alarming, therefore none talks about seeking justice for the families who lose their loved ones; not even sending single word of condolence to the bereaved families. Why such step motherly treatment by a country which time and again hypes about it being world's largest democracy. Why is there no room for democracy in a country of democracy. It is so disappointing to see such large democracy crippling its own law and order when it comes to granting justice to the inhabitants of my land.
In a great country like India, if an animal life is so important and worthwhile, then as per such value system, human life should be treasured and considered most precious among all other entities. When a crime like poaching can put the leading star like Salman Khan behind bars for five long years, then why is there no punishment, court trials or investigations for those who openly kill and maim people without being accountable to anyone. Blackbucks are surely endangered species and all efforts must be put together to safeguard them but at the same time, if human slaughter continues to take place on daily basis, then humans too would extinct soon from the face of earth. Therefore, value human life first so that there are enough humans alive to value and protect animal life.
Bazila Ehsan is pursuing PG in English literature at University of Kashmir