Before we discuss the odd ways in which our politicians' and actors' hearts beat, let us spend a moment to consider one question - what, precisely, is an AK 56?
The Avtomat Kalashnikova type 56 Assault rifle is a Chinese copy of the more famous AK-47. This 'copy' has stood the test of time and proven itself in battlegrounds across the world. Around 1.5 crore of them currently exist. It can fire 600 rounds per minute from box magazines holding 20 or 30 rounds. It can kill from up to 500 meters away.
This rifle is intended for only one purpose - war.
In case you want a great example of what happens when this weapon meets civilians, I ask you to remember 26/11.
It was a weapon similar to the ones that gunned down hundreds that Sanjay Dutt, the tragically misunderstood 33-year-old 'boy' who was just 'foolish' and a 'good' person, went out of his way to get.
This was not just a question of money by the way. If you buy a gram of cocaine for a rave party that is a stupid mistake helped by the fact that you have money.
This is something far more sinister.
Since there seems to be some sort of complete failure of common sense on the part of our political and Bollywood class, there is a need to clarify the most obvious truth here.
At every single step of the long journey that weapon took before Sanjay Dutt cuddled it, the people who were handling it were killers, facilitators of killers or battlefield opportunists. You find this weapon where you find death and war. It is not stacked next to the rice in a Kinara store.
Not one of them, including Dutt, was ever in doubt as to what the weapon was for or what kind of people were involved in getting that death machine to him.
What did Jaya Bachchan, Mamata Banerjee, Justice Katju and most of the Bollywood fraternity think their friend was getting? A toy gun that kids use during Diwali?
What sort of men did they imagine Sanjay Dutt met and befriended to get this weapon? His local paan walla? The milkman? The fisherwoman?
To understand the true scale of the hypocrisy coming from so many exalted positions, imagine this...
If an ordinary Muslim procured this weapon and brought it into any Tier-one city, how would we react?
You don't need to imagine now, you have the example right before you - The Delhi police have been tom-toming for days that Sayed Liyaqat Shah, the ex-Kashmiri militant that they 'captured' was in Delhi for a huge terrorist attack.
They claim he could be connected to several AK-56 rifles and grenades that were found in a Delhi guesthouse.
If Sayed Liyaqat Shah had the weapons he was obviously here to kill us all goes their argument. But if Sanjay Dutt had the weapon, he is a just a boy who made a small mistake. Or so Mamata Banerjee would have us believe.
Just because they had a few dinner parties with Sanjay Dutt, suddenly everyone is convinced that he deserves special justice and is a beautiful flawless flower.
No one, it would seem, had dinner with Zaibunissa Anwar Kazi, the 70-year-old woman who was also convicted for the crime of keeping the weapons in her house for a few days.
No one is weeping for her.
No one is making speeches on television channels begging for mercy for her.
No one is busily making appointments with Governors to plead her 'innocence'. (Ironically she actually might be innocent since her house was just used as a dump for the weapon before it reached Sanjay Dutt.)
For her, the only person crying is her own child, begging us to grow a conscience and for some at least try to apply the law fairly.
But Zaibunissa Anwar Kazi is a terrorist! An evil person who 'associated' with Abu Salem! We can't care for her! Obviously!
Sanjay Dutt once pretended to be a Gandhian for a fictional movie a few years ago, don't you remember? Remember how he pretended to hug every one? How sweet, na?
So what if he met with Abu Salem and smuggled assault rifles into India with the help of terrorists? It was only for self-defence, na?
He is an innocent harmless little butterfly, obviously!
No...he is not.
If men and women across the country are arrested (sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly) for associating with terrorists, for facilitating the smuggling of weapons and for allegedly waging war against the state, then Sanjay Dutt is indeed guilty and we need to grow up and apply the law.
PS: I am 26. Let me go out, right now, and try to buy an AK-56 from a terrorist. If I succeed and if the cops catch me, I will be sure to get married and then produce some children in the 20 years it will take for the courts to decide my fate.
At the end of that time, can I expect Jaya Bachchan, Justice Katju and Mamata Banerjee to come save me? I too then will be a 'good boy' who has a family after all. More by the author: