By Sushil Kutty
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has set procedures to deal with the death of a “visitor” to the country in a public place (hotel/beach/park/highway etc) and those procedures automatically come into play once an unnatural/untimely death occurs. The delay in the release of actor Sridevi’s body is because of those procedures. The Dubai Police and Dubai Prosecution are bound by set rules and regulations and neither pressure nor emotions can make a difference.
“Just because the Indian media announced that Sridevi died of a cardiac arrest immediately after she was found unconscious does not cut ice with the (Dubai) police or the medical authorities. Her status and her fame will not change the methodology that the UAE authorities will follow,” a top Dubai journalist of Indian origin wrote on a digital platform. “This (UAE) is a very modern and advanced country and it works on certain medial principles. It does not matter who you are, the rules don’t get changed.”
The Indian Embassy in the UAE has said the same. Underscoring that every country has its own laws, rules and regulations, procedures, the embassy said that procedures were being followed as per UAE law.
Right. The impatience shown in India, especially the manner in which the Indian media is prone to go for saturation coverage of any controversial event/occurrence that has seeds of sensationalism in them, should not surprise anybody.
However, the Indian media this time displayed a degree of patience that was commendable. It stood up and took notice only when the autopsy report was released and the world was told that Sridevi died from “accidental drawning (drowning) in bathtub”. And a blood test revealed that traces of alcohol were found in her blood.
Gulf media as a rule does not ‘probe/question’ set procedures. It is more “disciplined”. That being said the Indian media meddled only when an Indian celebrity – dead or alive – became the news. Otherwise, they steer clear.
When news broke that Sridevi did not die of cardiac arrest as reported, the first casualty was “accidental drawning (or drowning)” mentioned in the autopsy report. Second, what was “accidental drowning”? Drowning is drowning, there cannot be anything “accidental”, “suicidal” or “homicidal” about drowning. How somebody drowned would be known only after investigations get completed.
Now, we know that in the “event of a visitor dying in a public place, or as it was in this case, a hotel room, outside of a clinic or hospital, “the procedure” will be followed. “The procedure will be followed. Until the viscera is examined, post-mortem done, autopsy completed and reports correlated with the standard police investigation filed, the body will not be released.”
Ironically, Indian media was not asking Dubai Police not to follow procedure. On the contrary, Dubai Police/Prosecution should follow procedure, cover all angles/holes so that there was nothing left to speculation. Especially, because lots of questions continued to swirl around Sridevi, Boney Kapoor, and the hotel.
Dubai is said to be saturated with CCTV cameras. From airport to home/hotel room/beach/desert, anywhere, cameras track any and every human being who lands in Dubai. Was there CCTV camera(s) outside Sridevi’s hotel room? What does the CCTV tapes show? Does it show anybody knocking/entering the suite when she was alone in the room for three days? Does it show the arrival of Boney Kapoor?
The Dubai journalist is right, “until every aspect of this development is checked and ticked, there will be a waiting period” and that would be the normal, “nothing sinister or untoward”. The point is, Indian media enjoys a far greater degree of “Freedom of Expression” than media elsewhere. There is an ocean’s difference, literally. (IPA Service)