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Fans, junior artists support Salman; shave head, cry for him

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Apr 13 (UNI) Bollywood actor Salman Khan's popularity, despite his many controversies, was evident from the euphoria among his fans and supporters here today, who not only broke down on hearing of the actor's release on bail, but also raised slogans in his support.

His ardent fans in the Junior Artists Association (JAA) could be heard shouting ''Salman Khan Zindabad'' and ''Salman Khan we love you'' slogans in the metropolis, while some did not even bother the least while shaving off their hair and getting tattoos of 'We love Salman' etched on their head.

JAA, Allied Mazdoor Union and Mahila Kalakaar Sangh showed solidarity with the actor, who is expected to arrive here later tonight from Jodhpur, while pleading for a minimum sentence for him. They also appealed to all the actor's fans the Producers Guild Association to support their cause.

JAA president Zaffar Ahmed, in an emotional voice said, ''Today we have celebrated Eid in the true sense of the word as Salman has been granted bail.'' Baba Khan, a member of the association, said ''We all make mistakes, even he has made one, but don't penalise him.'' ''When Salman Khan or any other big Bollywood star works for a day, 500 families earn their daily livelihood, including the spot boy, the cameraman, extras, props and doubles used in films. We just pray that Salman is free so that more than 2,500 families can earn their livelihood,'' he added.

Rafiq Ahmed, an extra artiste said, ''The attitude of officials is such that they use Salman as the proverbial sacrificial goat.

There are hardcore criminals on whom the Government spends crores to bring them to face trial and they are given VIP treatment, while a man who is used to eating with the silver spoon is fed 'chana gur'.

What kind of justice is this?'' Prem Singh Thakur of Allied Mazdoor Sangh said, ''We will co-ordinate with Salman Khan and declare May 1 as a Black Day where we will request people associated with the film fraternity to wear black and support the cause.'' A visibly upset Thakur further said, ''Fifteen people from the sangh are ready to face the punishment meted out to Salman, but please release him. He not only supports the livelihood of the artists but also of the people in theatres in India, where his films are released.'' Meanwhile, most of the junior artists echoed one view that the punishment on Salman is too severe.

JAA leader Farid Sura said, ''The court has not sentenced him keeping in mind he is just another citizen. They have treated him as a special case. If they had treated him as any other citizen this case would have been dismissed six years ago and Salman would have been declared innocent. They have used this as the sword of Damocles hanging on his head.'' Association member Naeem Shaikh said nobody talks about the philanthropic work Salman does, or the good films he acts in.

They are quick to point a finger at his flaws. People who know him closely love him, so why single him out? However, all the artists thanked the Rajasthan court for granting him bail and the media for supporting their cause.


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