A silent revolution is in process in Jodhpur where youths of the Bishnoi community are collecting funds to build a grand memorial in the memory of the blackbucks that were buried here in Kankani village after being poached by Bollywood star Salman Khan 24 years ago.
Salman Khan was accompanied by actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu and Neelam on this trip when the blackbucks were hunted. The land where these blackbucks were buried will have a memorial soon, said Prem Saran, one of the youths behind the project.
The memorial will have a statue of a blackbuck and 1,000 trees will be planted on the land where the mute animal was buried, he said adding that a few young boys from his community have formed a WhatsApp group which has started a fund collection drive. They are collecting around Rs 500 to Rs 1000 from each person to ensure they have around Rs 2 lakh for the memorial.
Recently, a team with JCB machines was here to clear the land of debris and now we shall start growing trees and construct a statue of a black buck. The memorial will be built in around a year, said Prem.
The reason it will take time is because trees take time to grow. We want deer, blackbucks and other animals to have a jungle feel while located here. Many deer die of fear after becoming scared as people pass by, so we want to make them feel secure, he added.
This is the land where deer and blackbucks can be seen roaming freely. In fact, they were roaming freely here 24 years back too when Salman Khan along with the other stars killed them, he lamented.
They came here as tourists and Bollywood stars but then shot the animals. We don’t want this to ever be repeated and hence will create a dense jungle so that animals are safe in its green periphery.
We will also ensure that the place has a rescue centre with doctors so that if any animal gets injured, it can be treated right away as presently the forest team takes a lot of time to come, Prem said.
About 7 bighas of land around the Chabutra has been cleared with JCB machines recently and now nearly 1000 trees are going to be planted. “It will take around a year to complete the project, however we want people to come here and take inspiration soon to save the environment and animals”, said Prem.
Kankani is the village where Salman Khan and the other stars of ‘Hum Saath Saath Hai’ allegedly poached blackbucks in 1998. The Bishnoi community stood against them and approached the court.
On April 5, 2018, the Rajasthan Sessions Court convicted Salman Khan and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment. Salman’s lawyers appealed against the sentence, and the matter is still pending in the Rajasthan High Court.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline)