Monday, July 17, 2017

Justice for Jeet

Who is Jeet? What justice does he need?

If you have any of the above questions on your mind, or maybe even a single question mark about the intent of this Blog, congratulations! You indeed are a target audience for me today. For my singular aim is to make you think. Not just because I believe that our thoughts are often the prerequisite for, or rather, a precursor to our actions, but also because I hope that the pen is mightier than the sword, and the readers who get to read what the pen writes, the mightiest.

So dear mighty mind, lend me your eyes, for I wish to introduce you to Jeet, yes, the same one in the title. So here goes…

Jeet is my cousin sister Paulami’s brother-in-law. Or in other words, my brother-in-law Dheeman’s younger brother. He is the dedicated son of Kakoli, the nephew of his loved uncles and aunts, the uncle of our nephew Hridhaan, a trustworthy friend of many, and a dedicated employee at TCS. 

Jeet or Dushtu, as he is naughtily referred to, loves to spend time with his family and his friends, be if from the locality where he grew up in - Paikpara, his college - Heritage, where he got his MBA from, or with his bandmates from his musical band which he hopes will one day fulfill its shared dream of being known to one and all. There are three other things that Jeet loves – Biriyani, travel, and bikes.

Sorry, I should have been more accurate about what I just said. It should have been ‘loved’ instead of ‘loves’, ‘was’ instead of ‘is’, and ‘hoped’ instead of ‘hope’. Because everything I described was true once, but not anymore. Because Jeet is no more.

On 5th August 2017, he would have turned 29 years old, but that it seemed was not to be. He passed away on Sunday evening right next to his bike, a few minutes too late for a get-together at the three storied house where his maternal uncles lived, at the end of the narrow lane in a North Kolkata locality. He never did get to have the Biriyani that was prepared, or discuss any of the plans about where the entire family of uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, and nieces were supposed to go to next (Himachal Pradesh, etc). Because life it seemed had other plans.

One of which included four friends getting drunk. And then, one of them deciding to drive a car belonging to his rich and influential father, in a narrow lane of a North Kolkata locality that they belonged to. The same locality where a gentleman had severely reprimanded him for driving rashly just two days back. But what mattered more was their plan and their brand new car.

The car rushed towards a three storied house outside which stood a young man waiting for his cousin to throw the keys to unlock the gate, even as his brother and sister-in-law were on their way to join him and the others for a family get-together.

There was a terrible crash as the car crushed the young man into the gate puncturing his lungs, even as his family just a few feet away screamed in shock. And even as the young man breathed his last, and neighbors from the locality rushed to the spot, the occupants of the car ran.

The son later surrendered to the police claiming that he was not behind the wheels. Instead, he had left the ignition on, and one of his 'friends' might have driven the car, finding the keys in it. The rest of these 'friends' are nowhere to be found. There was soon a posting of the Police in front of his house, even as the family of the young man who had rushed him to RG Kar Hospital were told that they were too late…That Jeet is no more.

A Parliamentary Committee has already reported that Drunk drivers causing death should be tried for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and an accident caused by drink driving should be treated as a planned crime and not an act of “negligence”, as is the practice.

But then, can someone whose Blood is yet to be tested for Alcohol consumption within 12 Hours be proved to be under the influence of alcohol? Can someone possibly rash drive in a narrow lane where cycles are the norm, maybe bikes even, but rarely cars, and too an Eeco? Can a car possibly crush a man onto a gate that lies by the side of the road, and not its end? Can someone really end up getting Police protection for themselves, while the victims are left to fend for themselves? And finally, can a simple purported ‘harmless’ accident cover up a motive that may never quite be revealed? I don’t know.

All I know is that this is no case of random strangers losing control along a highway or a main street thus causing the death of a passerby, co-passenger, or pedestrian. This case has more to it than meets the eye. But with every passing moment, it seems to be heading towards an open and shut case where lack of evidence might lead to a trivial sentence, or worse - acquittal.

This Durga Puja, Jeet was all see to celebrate the release of his first Album with his friends and family. Instead they have been forced to release sentences to the Media, while he looks on, merely a garlanded photograph. He will never see a movie again. Never experience the joy of visiting a new place. Never know what it feels like to get married to the love of one's life, or for that matter, the joys of holding one's own child in his arms. Jeet would never sing, never laugh, never cry, and never ever get the joy of having a dream that might one day get fulfilled - because someone decided to present the Ghosh family with their worst nightmare - His Death.

A life has been nipped in the bud, be it through an irresponsible accident, a carefully planned murder, or an act of intimidation gone wrong. But there is a way to set things right – through Justice being served. But for that, there has to be more minds that think, and even more voices who demand for the truth. Only then can we finally get to know how and why exactly Jeet Ghosh died on Sunday, 16th July, 2017.

Media coverage of the Incident is as follows:

Times of India

The Telegraph

Anandabazar Patrika