India’s eco warriors who sent Bollywood’s Khan to jail

New Delhi

In the movies Salman Khan always wins. But offscreen, the Bollywood tough guy hero may have met his match in a 530-year-old Hindu sect that puts animals above humans — especially superstars. The determination of the Bishnoi community forced Khan to spend two sleepless nights in a Rajasthan jail following his conviction last week for killing rare antelopes on a hunting trip.
The Bishnoi — self-styled ecological guardians whose guiding principles forbid them to kill animals or even sterilise a bull — have been pursuing Khan ever since a fateful night in October 1998.
Their testimony had seen the actor detained three times over the past two decades before his shock conviction last week.
The Bishnoi say Khan was seen killing two black buck antelopes while on safari in the Rajasthan desert, where most of the community live. It was a grave sin in their eyes.
The black bucks are protected by law and the Bishnoi also consider the antelope reincarnations of their 15th century saint Guru Jambheshwar.
They believe their perseverance paid off. As Khan was ordered last Thursday to serve a five-year jail term, the Bishnoi set off firecrackers and danced in celebration.—APP

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