Updated: May 12, 2015 8:25:11 pm
A sudden commotion broke the monotony outside the Bombay High Court early Friday morning. Fans, media and curious bystanders who stood under the harsh morning sun awaiting actor Salman Khan’s bail hearing set for 11 am turned to face a crowd gathering around a young man. Gourango Kundu (32) caught everyone by surprise when, after passing around copies of a ‘suicide’ note, he downed poison and lost consciousness. The drama had begun even before the court announced its decision on bail for Khan, convicted in the 2002 hit-and-run case.
It took a while for the people to understand the cause of the uproar as Kundu chose a spot outside the court, in a corner of the street. But soon, to the cries of “Isne zeher pee liya (he’s consumed poison)” from those around him, cameramen and policemen rushed to the spot. He was carried away in a police van and taken to Gokuldas Tejpal (GT) Hospital in Fort.
Additional Commissioner of Police Krishna Prakash appeared soon after Kundu was carried out and demanded that he be shown a copy of the note.
When contacted, the superintendent of GT Hospital said, “The patient was admitted for poisoning. But he is doing absolutely fine. We are not sure which poison he consumed and a chemical analyst is looking into that. For now, he is admitted in the hospital, will stay the night and is stable.”
After Kundu’s departure, onlookers appeared more amused than worried. Soon, attention shifted to the green suicide note — complete with a pinned photo of Kundu touching the actor’s feet — that he had circulated among the mediapersons present there before he drank the “poison”.
The letter began with greetings to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Kundu said he was abandoned as an eight-year-old in Kolkata and had to work through his childhood. A struggling writer, Kundu was driven to suicide one day and then Salman Khan appeared in his dreams, he wrote. The letter read, “…usi raat ko mujhe sapne mein Salman ji dikhe aur bolne lage… beta tu mujhe kahani likhte ja aur mujhe dete. Main tumhari kahani janta ko dikha ke tumhara sapna pura karunga. (That night I dreamt of Salman Khan telling me to write and that he will help my stories reach the world).” Kundu lives in Bandra East and has a wife, Chaitali, and two children Gaurav and Loknath.
While Kundu was praying for Khan’s bail, the court premises also saw some opposing his bail. Pavement dwellers from the Beghar Adhikar Abhiyan staged a protest earlier in the day, armed with posters saying ‘Be Humane Before Being Human’ and ‘No Bail for Salman Khan’. They also lashed out at singer Abhijeet’s recent offensive tweets about pavement dwellers, with banners saying, “We are city-makers, not dogs Abhijeet”. Expecting trouble, the police packed them off in vans.
Once news emerged that Khan’s sentence had been suspended, there was an air of celebration followed by more celebrations outside the star’s house in Bandra.
The mood outside the High Court was, however, mixed. Fans who had stood waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of the star were left disappointed as Khan did not appear. “We…will not leave till we see him. I’m happy with the result. We are the public. If the public wants him to be released, why does anyone else have a problem? He is an asset to society. He should never be placed behind bars,” said Ruchi Singh, 24.
On the other hand, one Suhail Shaikh, who was at the court to attend personal matters, seemed dejected. “The judiciary should not let him go. What example are we setting? That if you are rich and powerful and make a mistake, you will be released?” Shaikh said. He runs a cab agency.
“Cases of drinking and driving are very serious. In my business I come across drivers who commit the crime. What sort of a signal are we sending to them? I’m also disappointed with the support the film industry is offering so publicly to the actor.”
Nothing seemed to deter Khan’s loyal fans. As Khan appeared late afternoon at the sessions court, he was greeted by hundreds of them. Shouting slogans of “We love you Salman”, they could be seen following the actor’s car outside the court.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines