Vox populi: Sanjay Dutt deserved it!


New Delhi : Sanjay Dutt may be one of India's most popular movie stars, but the common man here is mostly of the opinion that the actor deserved the six years in jail he got Tuesday for possessing dangerous weapons.

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Many of them felt that special anti-terror TADA court Judge P.D. Kode, who gave the sentence in Mumbai, had only proved that all Indians are equal in the eyes of law.

"I'm happy Sanjay has been sentenced. If he has done something wrong, he ought to be punished, no matter who he is. Justice should be equal for everybody," insisted Ramakant, a 32-year-old bus driver after Dutt was sentenced in the 1993 Mumbai bombings case.

Ramakant went on: "He is not the only actor we watch, somebody else will fill his place. For one person, law cannot change."

College student Manisha Pathak felt alike: "Even though he might have changed, he should still face punishment for what he did. Sanjay committed a crime and he is getting the punishment."

Pallavi Pundit, a chartered accountant, said: "Given what Sanjay has gone through, the sentence could have been reduced. But the judge knows best, and I'm sure he has given Sanjay what he deserved."

The 48-year-old actor, who has been lauded for brilliant performances in films like "Munnabhai M.B.B.S.", "Lage Raho Munnabhai", "Shootout at Lokhandwala", "Vaastav", "Parineeta" and "Mission Kashmir", has a huge fan following across the country.

Businessman Prabit Ganguly also felt that Mumbai anti-terror judge had acted wisely.

"It is good that justice is equal for everybody. If Sanjay was let off, it would have set a bad example for the Indian judiciary," he said. "Even though big bucks may be riding on him, that doesn't save him from getting the punishment."

Even Roshni Shukla, a diehard Dutt fan, echoed the majority view: "Sanjay is a very good actor. He must have changed a lot in these 14 years but why did he have to do all that in the past? I cannot imagine anybody else doing Munnabhai sequels but I guess the court has set a good example."

Only Bharti Dubey, a housewife, appeared to be sympathetic to the actor: "Sanjay was not wearing his lucky shirt today. Maybe that's the reason why he got this sentence. Moreover he has already served jail sentence before. The judge should have also taken note of that. I'm sure Sanjay will bounce back from this."

Shayan Banerjee, a school student, praised judge Kode too.

"Sanjay is a superstar whom everybody looks up to. If he was allowed to go free, then many people could have complained and raised fingers at the court. Moreover, the court has set a brilliant example. Even if you are a celebrity, you cannot be exempted from the sins that you commit."

Akash Trivedi, who does company audits, added: "I'm happy that the judge has withstood the constant pressure built up by the media, which has campaigned for Sanjay Dutt."

"This is going to be the second test for Sanjay Dutt," said Naveen Agarwal, also a businessman. "He had faced a lot of public humiliation when he went to jail for the first time. But now I'm sure though he must be dejected he will come out fine."