India Uncut

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Navjot Singh Sidhu convicted

No, Sidhu's tortured similes and metaphors are not punishable by the Indian Penal Code, but the fellow's been convicted of culpable homicide, in a case that's taken 18 years to reach this judgement.

Sidhu's an entertaining fellow, and I liked his batting, but if he did the crime, he should do the time. I feel no sympathy for him in that regard. (I do feel sorry for his possible cell-mates, though, unless they're deaf.) I saw a TV interview of Sidhu once where he was asked about that incident, and he said something to the effect of "Arre, but I didn't intend to kill the man. You should see what my intention was."

Sushma Swaraj, who has been batting for Sidhu, has made similar noises. The Hindu reports:
She suggested that it was a mere accident that Mr. Sidhu had beaten up a man to death.
The Hindu uses the clumsiest and most archaic English of India's major broadsheets, but I like the way that sentence is constructed. A "mere accident," it seems.

In any case, it's common sense that you have to judge actions on the basis of their outcome, and not their intent. Any action can be rationalised as having a harmless intent behind it, and intention can rarely be established. And while in some circumstances it can act as a mitigating factor -- killing someone in self-defence should obviously get a lesser sentence than killing him to steal his watch -- it can hardly be the sole basis of judging a crime, as Sidhu seemed to suggest.

Sidhu will certainly appeal the decision, and that probably means that we will have to continue to tolerate him on our television screens. Our sentence will end when his begins. It might never.

Update (December 7): Do read my clarification to this post.
amit varma, 3:31 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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