Hema Malini accident: troubling questions the state must answer
Is the life of a VIP more precious in this country than that of an innocent child?
That is the question being asked by the family of one-year-old Sonam who was killed in an accident involving filmstar and MP Hema Malini's Mercedes in Rajasthan's Dausa district Thursday.
They accused the administration of lavishing all attention on the BJP leader while ignoring the plight of the other five people injured in the accident. All five belong to the same family as Sonam.
Indeed, several troubling questions have been raised about the state officials' response to the accident. Here are a few allegations they need to address:
- According to Sunita Koolwal, a relative of the injured family, while the local administration took Hema to hospital immediately after the accident, the other injured were left behind.
Hema and other BJP leaders who were at the spot didn't help the family either, eyewitnesses claimed.
Hema Malini and other BJP leaders who were at the spot didn't help the injured family, eyewitnesses said
- Even when they were finally taken to hospital, it was to the Dausa District Hospital, from where they were later referred to the state-run Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur. This despite the fact that Sonam had died and two other children was critically injured. Hema, on the other hand, was taken straight to the five-star Fortis hospital though, according to eyewitnesses, she wasn't as badly injured as the others.
- The injured family had to wait hours before the police arrived at the accident spot. Then, at the Dausa hospital, they had to again wait for an ambulance to shift the critically-injured children, Sanu and Shikha, to Jaipur.
- Dr Shiv Sharma of the Dausa hospital rushed to the accident spot, but only to tend to the MP. He took her and her PA to the Fortis hospital, leaving the others.
"Different treatment is being given to victims of the same accident. Hema was immediately taken to the Fortis hospital, while our family members were sent to Sawai Man Singh Hospital, where treatment was given very late," Hindustan Times quoted Rajiv Gupta, a relative of the injured family, as saying.
- Most of the reports on the condition of the injured focused on Hema, while the deceased child and her family were barely mentioned to the media.
- Media reports have quoted SMS Hospital Medical Superintendent Maan Prakash Sharma as saying that four of the injured were brought to the hospital separately from 11.30 pm until 4 am.
Hema was taken straight to the five-star Fortis hospital though she wasn't as badly injured as the others
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje visited the injured family in hospital Friday, and directed the doctors there to provide them the "best possible treatment".
Raje also visited Hema, as did state BJP President Ashok Parnami, Union minister Sanwar Lal Jat, state minister Rajpal Singh Shekhawat and singer Anup Jalota. Her daughter Esha Deol and her husband also visited.
The accident had taken place at the Lalsot bypass on Jaipur-Agra highway at about 9.15 pm Thursday. Hema was returning to Jaipur after visiting the Mehendipur Balaji temple in Karauli district when her car, while negotiating a turn, collided with an Alto carrying Sonam's family. Reports have suggested she was not wearing the seat belt.
Meanwhile, the police arrested, and later released on bail, Hema's driver Mahesh Chandra Thakur after relatives of the injured family filed a complaint against him. The family has also demanded compensation.