The verdict against Salman Khan makes no difference to at least two of the four men injured in the hit-and-run in Bandra in 2002. The jail term to Salman “will not fill the stomach”, says one of them.
“The verdict doesn’t really affect us in any way,” Mohammad Kaleem, 35, tells The Indian Express from Sultanpur. “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.”
In Mumbai, Abdullah Rauf Shaikh, another of the victims hailing from UP, echoes Kaleem. “What’s the point of getting the judgment after such a long time? I had to quit my previous job.” Rauf now still works at a bakery in Mumbai and received Rs 3 lakh as compensation, out of which, he says, he had to give Rs 1.2 lakh to his lawyer.
Kaleem says he still suffers the effects of the injury. “My back aches if I stretch it. I still have to take medicines when it becomes unbearable,” says Kaleem, who was under 23 when Salman’s vehicle hit him, fracturing a leg and injuring him in a hand and the back. “My livelihood was affected and I can’t earn anymore. My younger brothers take care of me now.”
“Kaleem came home to recuperate. When he returned to Mumbai, his back continued to ache and he could not work. So he returned to Gonda for good and since then he has been staying at home, occasionally driving a taxi,” says his brother, Haleem.
“Kaleem used to support us when we were young, and now we are supporting him. We are also looking after his 12-year-old daughter Tayyaba Bano,” Haleem says.
Brothers Haleem, Kaleem and Mohammad Oleem stay in Sultanpur. A fourth, Mohammad Aleem, works at a bakery in Mumbai. “We are poor people, we’d rather earn money than fight a case.”
Mohammad Muslim, yet 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, 36, whose right foot came under the vehicle’s wheels, skipped work at Mumbai’s Steaval Bakery Wednesday. His colleague Mohd Aziz says the cost of his treatment was taken care of “anonymously”.
“He can walk properly now. He still does not know who paid for his treatment,” Aziz says. Asked if Shaikh has ever spoken against the actor, Aziz says, “I do not remember him saying anything like that.”
With ENS in Mumbai