The Bishnoi community in the Kankani village of Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district is constructing a huge memorial to honour the blackbuck killed by Bollywood actor Salman Khan 24 years ago. The people of this village consider deer as their identity and says it is necessary for deer to survive.
A grand monument and an animal rescue centre are being constructed at the same place where the deer was found dead. The memorial will be built in Kankani village at around 7 bigha land (a small portion of land). A huge 3-feet statue of black deer weighing 800 kg will be erected at the site made of cement and iron bars, and a rescue centre will also be built for the treatment of animals and birds.
The statue of the deer is ready to be placed at the temple in Kakani village. The local people built the entire temple by collecting money from the residents of the Kankani village. A local sculptor Shankar has prepared the statue in 15 days at Siwanchi Gate of Jodhpur. The horns on the statue are of the original deer. The horns were made from the remains of dead deer in the forest.
According to villagers, the temple is being built to raise awareness to protect animals for the coming generations. The temple will remind them to protect animals. Speaking to ANI, Former MP and representative of Bishnoi Samaj Jaswant Singh Bishnoi said, “Deer is our identity and it is necessary for them to survive. After the construction of the temple, we will pass our learning of Guru Jambhoji Maharaj to the next generation. Jambhoji Maharaj said that “sar kate rukh bache to bhi sasta jaan”, which means that even if the head is cut off, the youth of Bishnoi samaj should be ready to save the environment, trees and animals at any cost.”
“When Guru Jambheshwar established the Bishnoi society, it was said in the code of conduct that the person who will sacrifice his life for the protection of trees and animals will get a place at the feet of Guru Jambheshwar. In Kankani village, 363 people sacrificed their lives to protect the trees,” he added. Hanuman Ram Vishnoi, a local resident of the village said that when Salman killed blackbuck here, since then people are demanding a temple for the protection of animals so that people learn to protect animals.
Ramniwas Bishnoi, a social worker said, “The youths of the village have decided to make a temple. Tourists, who come to visit always ask for the place where Salman killed the blackbuck. Now the youths are building a temple at the same place.” The Bollywood actor was granted bail by Jodhpur Court in connection with the Blackbuck poaching case.
Salman Khan was booked under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act for poaching two chinkaras in Bhawad village on September 26-27, 1998 and one chinkara in Mathania on September 28, 1998. Salman was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of killing two blackbucks in Jodhpur during the shooting of his movie ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ in 1998.
The other four accused – actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam, and Sonali Bendre – were acquitted in the case. Earlier, the Jodhpur District and Sessions Court dismissed a petition filed by the Rajasthan government that alleged that Salman Khan had presented a false affidavit related to the Arms Act in the blackbuck poaching case.