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Salman Khan: Bollywood superstar jailed for poaching

An Indian court has sentenced Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to five years in jail for poaching rare antelope back in 1998.

The court in Jodhpur also fined him 10,000 rupees ($154; £109) for the crime. He has since been taken to jail.

Khan killed the two blackbucks, a protected species, in the western state of Rajasthan while shooting a film.

Four other actors who starred with him in the movie and were also charged with the offence have been acquitted.

Khan, 52, can appeal against the verdict in a higher court.

Others welcomed the verdict.

Skip Twitter post by @imparthvadher

Finally criminal @BeingSalmanKhan convicted. Justice prevails. Salute to Rajasthan court. #BlackBuckPoachingCase

— Parth K Vadher  (@imparthvadher) April 5, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @imparthvadher

Skip Twitter post by @yourstrulydiya

STOP feeling bad for Salman Khan, he is getting what he deserves.

— diya (@yourstrulydiya) April 5, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @yourstrulydiya

Some celebrities, including friends of the actor, took Khan’s side.

Skip Twitter post by @richa_singh

Honestly, I am feeling bad for Salman Khan because others were equally culpable and should not have been acquitted. Why should he suffer alone?

And rumour mills say he wasn't the one per se but took blame for all female actors to safeguard them.

— richa singh (@richa_singh) April 5, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @richa_singh

Skip Twitter post by @Simi_Garewal

Of one thing I am dead sure..@BeingSalmanKhan would NEVER EVER harm any animal. He loves them too much. The real culprit should be exposed. 20 years is too long to bear someone else's cross..

— Simi Garewal (@Simi_Garewal) April 5, 2018

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End of Twitter post by @Simi_Garewal

However, most Bollywood actors have refrained from commenting.


Reality Check: How common are convictions for poaching in India?

Khan was convicted under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, the law that prohibits the hunting of hundreds of different species.

Black buck deer, tigers, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and Tibetan antelope are among the species given the highest level of protection.

Punishment for first-time offenders can be imprisonment for up to seven years or a fine of up to 25,000 rupees (£276; $386), or both.

Figures from the Indian National Crime Records Bureau show 148 recorded convictions for offences under the Wildlife Protection Act in 2016. The records also show 2,096 pending cases awaiting trial, 207 cases which were discharged and a 71.5% conviction rate.

According to the State of India’s Environment, the report published annually by the country’s Centre for Science and Environment, there was a 52% spike in poaching and wildlife crimes between 2014 and 2016. More than 30,382 wildlife crimes were recorded in the country during that period.

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