By: Neha Kulkarni
Abdul Shaikh (36), one of the persons injured in the hit-and-run incident, chose to avoid the media Wednesday. His right foot was run over by Salman’s car when he was sleeping on the footpath outside American Express bakery on Hill Road in Bandra on the night of September 28, 2002.
On Wednesday, Shaikh remained absent from Steaval Bakery, his current work place.
He used to work with A1 Bakery, located near the Hill Road area, and would sleep on the footpath at night. After the incident on the fateful night, he had been rushed to the K B Bhabha Hospital in Bandra. The cost of his treatment had been anonymously taken care of.
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Mohammed Aziz, a colleague at Svelvet Bakery, said, “A rod was fitted into his right leg . He can walk properly now but still does not know who paid the money for his treatment. He had returned to his village for some time but came back to work with us.”
When asked if Shaikh ever mentioned holding grudges against the actor, he said, “I do not remember him saying anything about Khan. He had mentioned to the press before that convicting Salman is not going to contribute to his living in any way.”
While Shaikh could not be contacted on the verdict day, he had told The Indian Express Tuesday he had not heard from Salman’s family even once in the last more than 12 years. “My leg got injured and I had to quit my previous job as I was being hounded by the media and my employer did not like it. In all these years, nobody from Khan’s family approached me,” he said.
Stating that it was a case of “justice delayed and justice denied”, he had said, “Itne din ke baad aayega toh kya fayda (what’s the point of getting the judgment after such a long time).”
The situation around American Express bakery on Hill Road seemed normal. Andrew Francis, who claimed to have been a witness to the incident, said, “I remember people coming and hitting Salman Khan when we tried to cool the situation off. They even hurled stones at his car. Khan, who was a regular on the Hill Road during evenings, hardly visited the place again.”
Residents in Bandra, however, rejoiced at the decision. Shiraz Lalani, a resident, said, “Though the decision has come late, I am happy that justice has prevailed. This shows the power of the judiciary.”