[Update: Earlier reports suggested that Salman Khan was awarded 2 years jail time. The title of the article has been updated accordingly.]
Salman Khan has been convicted by a Jodhpur trial court in the two-decade-old blackbuck poaching case. The 52-year-old actor was found guilty of killing two blackbucks in 1998 while working on the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. His co-stars – Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Sonali Bendre and Neelam – were co-accused in the case, but have been acquitted.
The blackbuck is an endangered species and is protected under the Indian Wildlife Act. Members of the Bishnoi community, passionate about protecting these animals, were witnesses to Salman hunting the blackbucks while the three actresses clapped.
“He would then slit the deer’s throat, clean his hands, and the others would cover the blood with sand,” India Today quoted the driver of Salman’s Gypsy in a 1998 article.
The recent verdict comes after hearings concluded on March 28. Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri had reserved the judgment for April 5.
Khan has been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act. Maximum punishment under the Section is six years. The actor has got five-year jail time. If the quantum of punishment had been less than three years, the actor’s lawyers could have approached for bail on the same day. He is also charged with Rs 50,000 fine.
“All of them (Salman and his accused co-stars) were in a Gypsy car that night, with Salman Khan in the driving seat. He, on spotting a herd of blackbucks, shot and killed two of them,” Public Prosecutor Bhawani Singh Bhati had said, reported The Quint.
Khan’s counsel has maintained innocence and claimed the case has several loopholes.
A case against Salman Khan was first registered on October 2, 1998. In 2006, he was convicted and spent a week in jail for a 5-year term. He was granted bail on April 10. On August 31, Rajasthan court suspended the sentence but ordered the actor to not leave the country without permission.
In July 2016, Rajasthan HC acquitted Khan, citing no evidence was found to prove the animals were shot by the actor’s licensed gun. In November, he was issued a notice by the Supreme Court on an appeal by the Rajasthan government challenging his acquittal, reports NDTV.
Have you ever spotted a speeding car without a care for the traffic signal? Ever spotted a person rushing to the other side of the road when the traffic light is green? Ever seen bikers use pavements as roads to save a few minutes? Ever seen cars change lanes on highways or rush hour traffic on a whim? Well, so have thousands of other Indians.
Road safety in India is a serious concern. For a country that boasts the second largest road network in the world, it is inarguable that we need to pay more attention to our safety on roads – a place where we step out every day, spend a handsome amount of our time.
The government has come up with several regulations on road safety, but is this enough? Not if awareness around the topic is still lacking.
The intention behind the initiative is to bring together lawmakers, local authorities, traffic police and citizens under one umbrella.
The cities will be rated on parameters such as Pedestrian Rights, Road Lighting and Maintenance, Motor Laws and Traffic Control, Emergency Services, Road Cleanliness, Connectivity, Road Transport Infrastructure, Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management, Road Safety, Differently abled friendly, Road Quality and Road Safety For Children.
Here are the ten cities that were chosen for Road Safety Index 2018 and the reasons that make their roads safe or unsafe:
Mumbai has facilities for the differently-abled like reservations in public transports, special train compartments, concessions on fares, etc. The city that never sleeps scored the best when it comes to citizens’ participation in making the city accepting and warm toward the differently-abled. It won the category ‘Differently-Abled Friendly’.
However, there are areas of improvement – illegal hawkers, pavements and footpaths need to be fixed or reconstructed.
Anyone who hails from the capital of West Bengal knows about its recreational parks and brightly lit streets. Its traffic police deserve special mention for redirecting rush traffic every day as Kolkata roads are narrow and many are one-way streets.
During Durga Puja, the city tries to make Pandals differently-abled friendly by installing ramps.
It won the categories – ‘Road Lighting & Maintenance’ and ‘Road Safety For Children’.
But the City of Joy needs to work more on giving its residents #HappyRoads. Issues of waterlogging and numerous street hawkers, roadside vendors in busy areas need to be solved.
There’s no one who’s been to Delhi and not praised its excellent connectivity. Delhi prides itself for broad roads, top-notch metros, pavements and foot over bridges. The national capital surely serves as an example for cities across India when it comes to road connectivity hence, it won the categories ‘Connectivity’ and ‘Road Quality’ in the Road Safety Index.
While Delhi has made many of its public places differently-abled friendly, the areas that need improvement are long hours in traffic, fixing of roads that pose a hindrance to daily commute and rash driving by bikers.
The city boasts well-marked zebra crossings, adequate footpaths for pedestrians, underground SMART dustbins, reduced encroachments. Raipur fares well in almost all parameters of road safety. It won the category of ‘Road Safety’ and ‘Pedestrian Rights’.
However, the city could do better with stricter fines for traffic violators and awareness about road safety and garbage disposal.
Other cities can take inspiration from Chennai on how to ensure good road safety. The city has wide, well-connected roads that are lit properly. It also boasts rigorous night patrolling where traffic rules violators are fined. One of the best initiatives taken by Chennai is the separate parking space on city roads that prevent traffic from accumulating. It came out on top in the category ‘Motor Laws & Traffic Control’.
Areas where Chennai needs to improve are street lighting and cleanliness.
Indore is one of the few cities that has used plastic waste for construction of roads and covered garbage disposals, which explains why the city won the ‘Road Cleanliness’ category. Indore also has adequate zebra crossings, visual signals, street lights, footpaths.
But areas where the city needs improvement are – strict action against traffic violators, public spaces more differently-abled friendly.
There is a lot to learn from the road safety measures implemented by Ahmedabad – sound medical facilities, separate lanes for local buses, special cab service for differently-abled, wide roads. Ahmedabad won in the category ‘Emergency Services’, ‘Road Transport Infrastructure’ and ‘Heavy Vehicle Traffic Management’.
If the Heritage City improves road safety awareness among citizens, it’s bound to fare even better. Better street lighting and lesser encroachments will work in favour of Ahmedabad.
The other cities shortlisted were Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad but they didn’t win any category.
Maruti Suzuki’s initiative to rank cities will encourage citizens and administration to do better and emerge on top.
The Logical Indian community wholeheartedly appreciates the various initiatives undertaken by Maruti-Suzuki in this direction. Not only the government but we, as citizens of this country, should also pledge to make our roads safe. One of the first steps towards this is that we understand our duties.
We hope the authorities take a note while we pledge to do our own bit towards happier, safer Indian roads.
For more information about the Maruti Suzuki’s initiative and the Road Safety Indexclick here.