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An in-depth look at the controversy surrounding Aryan Khan’s arrest

by Ashima

SRK’s son was taken into custody on drugs charges earlier this month.

By Ashima Sethi

On the 2nd of October, Aryan Khan who is the 23-year old son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on drugs charges. Aryan, along with seven others were taken into custody after the NCB raided a cruise ship that was on its way from Goa to Mumbai with approximately 1,300 people onboard the vessel.

Described as a ‘rave at sea,’ the NCB seized 3 grams of cocaine, 21 grams of charas, 22 pills of MDMA, 5 grams of MD and 1.33 lakh in cash. The police ‘investigation’ that has subsequently followed has been met with a lot of controversy. Here’s a breakdown of the events:

  • Aryan and the others, including Munmun Dhamecha and Arbaaz Merchant, were taken by police to undergo a medical examination after which they were expected to record their statements/recollection of events.
  • In his statement, Aryan reiterated that he was invited as a VVIP guest for the cruise party ‘to add glamour to the event.’
  • Despite his testimonial and the fact that the NCB found no drug paraphernalia on him, they charged him with consumption, booking him under sections 8C, 20B, 27 and 35 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
  • He was then sentenced to 14 days of judicial custody.
  • His lawyer, Satish Maneshinde then filed a bail plea but the Mumbai Esplanade Court rejected the bail please on 8th October.
  • On 11th October, Maneshinde filed another bail plea in the NDPS Court, which is set to take place on 13th October.
  • The NCB have publicly said that although nothing was recovered from him personally, his phone records ‘supposedly’ reveal links with drug dealers and they believe that the drugs seized from the docks from Arbaaz Merchant were actually meant for Aryan too. This assumption is based on Aryan having contact with members of an international drug ring.
  • The police have ordered Aryan to stay in a common cell at Arthur Road Jail.

The decision to arrest and hold Aryan for weeks has brought forth a lot of criticism from both the Bollywood elite and the general public. The biggest concern making headlines is that this decision to jail Aryan goes far beyond his actions and is actually rooted in politics, with some suggesting that India’s government is purposely ‘harassing’ the son of the country’s biggest actor to send a message about his Muslim religion.

In a career spanning over 30 years, 55-year old Shah Rukh has starred in over a hundred films, amassed over 60 million followers across his social media platforms, he owns the Kolkata Knight Riders Indian Premier League team, and is the face of multiple global brands.

For the most part, his career has been met with minimal controversy. However, in 2015 after PM Modi was elected to office, Shah Rukh was on the receiving end of hate from supporters of the right-wing BJP with people calling him ‘anti-national’ because he was vocal about the growing religious intolerance that was taking over modern day India. Some event went so far as to call him a ‘terrorist’ and comparable to the criminals behind the tragic 2008 Mumbai Attacks.

We may not know the truth behind the NCB’s reason to arrest and hold Aryan without definitive proof that he had ingested drugs or had drugs on him, but the arrest has brought to light an India that is divided. You have those who are crying out injustice and demanding his release and others who are standing behind a total boycott of SRK’s films and endorsed products.

The same can be said about the Bollywood fraternity, as some are also divided over whether to lend their support to a fellow industry-member or trust that the police are simply being ‘in-depth’ with their investigation of the happenings of 2nd October. Here are some reactions we could find from prominent names:

Singer and songwriter Vishal Dadlani tweeted that “SRK and his family are being used as a smokescreen, a soft target to distract from the 3000kg Talibani-drug haul at the Adani port, and to distract from the murder of farmers by the son of a BJP member/MLA”. In this message he references an incident that happened a few weeks ago where Ashish Mishra, son of Junior Home Minister Ajay Mishra, ran over a group of protesting farmers, killing four of them. Unlike the media frenzy that surrounds Aryan’s case, Ashish’s much more serious case has been met with minimal coverage.

In a similar vein, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti criticised the NCB in a tweet that read: “Instead of making an example out of a Union Minister’s son accused of killing four farmers, central agencies are after a 23 year old simply because his surname happens to be Khan. Travesty of justice that Muslims are targeted to satiate the sadistic wishes of BJPs core vote bank.” Writer and activist Arundhati Roy was also quoted as saying, “These days in India you are arrested and jailed for who you are. Not for what you have done.”

In a recent statement, the President of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisi also reacted to the case. He was quoted as saying, “You are talking about a superstar’s son. At least 27 percent of undertrial prisoners in UP jails are Muslims. Who will speak for them? I will fight for those who are voiceless and weak, not for those whose fathers are powerful.”

Below are some examples from the B-town fraternity:

My dear Aryan,

Life is a strange ride . It’s great because it’s uncertain. It’s great cause it throws you curve balls, but god is kind. He gives only the toughest ones the toughest balls to play. You know you are chosen when amidst the chaos you can feel the pressure to hold your own. And I know you must feel it now. The anger, the confusion, the helplessness. Aaah, the very ingredients that are needed to burn the hero out from inside you. But be wary , those same ingredients could burn away the good stuff… the kindness, the compassion, the love. Allow yourself to burn, but just enough.. Mistakes , failings , victories , success… they’re all the same if you know which parts to keep with you and which parts to throw away from the experience. But know that you can grow better with them all. I’ve known you as a kid and I’ve known you as a man. Own it. Own everything you experience. They’re your gifts. Trust me. In time when you connect the dots… I promise you , It’s gonna make sense. Only if you have stared the devil in his eyes and kept your calm. Keep calm . Observe. These moments are the makers of your Tom. And Tom is going to have a brilliant sun shining. But for it , you must go thru the dark. Calm , still , owning your own. And trusting the light. Within. It’s always there .

Love you man

Hrithik Roshan via Instagram

It’s very sad that we as celebrities face the brunt of things, more than anybody else would have. When we do good, we get appreciated more than a common person would. But when something wrong happens to us, we are also criticised much more. So, that’s a sad part of being a celebrity.

Taapsee Pannu via press interview

Shameful politics being played out.. it’s a young mans life and future they toying with heartbreaking.

Raveena Tandon via Twitter

Other people who have lent their support include Sonam Kapoor, Sussanne Khan, Suniel Shetty, Pooja Bhatt, Salman Khan, Karan Johar, and Preity Zinta among several others.

Of course, we can rely on Kangana Ranaut to take a controversial stance. She was quoted as saying, “Now all Mafia Pappu coming to Aaryan Khan’s defence… We make mistakes but we mustn’t glorify them… I trust this will give him perspective and also make him realise the consequences of his actions… Hopefully, it can evolve him and make him better and bigger. It’s good not to gossip about someone when they are vulnerable but it’s criminal to make them feel that they did no wrong.”

More to this story as it develops.

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