Salman Khan's acquittal leaves Bishnois stunned

A community leader said they would press the Rajasthan government to approach the Supreme Court.


Members of the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan are shocked by the acquittal of Hindi film star Salman Khan in two 18-year-old chinkara poaching cases.

"We respect the [Rajasthan high] court. But there is disappointment, specially among wildlife lovers in our community," said Hiraram Bishnoi, a community leader. "We are going to request the state government to approach the Supreme Court in this case."

As a community, the Bishnois are known for their love of wild animals and nature and protect chinkaras, black bucks and deer, among others.

"While we respect the Constitution and the judicial system, the judgment has come as a shock to us," said Ramniwas Budhnagar of the Bishnoi Tiger Force.

A volunteer of the Bishnoi Tiger Force who did not want to be named blamed the Rajasthan government for not fighting the case properly, leading to Khan's acquittal.

Soon after the verdict was announced in Jodhpur, some volunteers claiming to be from the Bishnoi Tiger Force raised slogans against the actor and demanded his arrest.

Salman Khan was accused of poaching chinkaras in a Bishnoi territory in 1998 when he was shooting for Sooraj Barjatya's Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999). The case dragged on for almost 18 years.