Jaipur: A silent revolution is underway in Jodhpur where young people from the Bishnoi community are raising funds to build a large memorial to the blackbucks who were buried here in the village of Kankani after being poached by Bollywood star Salman Khan he 24 years ago.
Salman Khan was accompanied by actors Saif Ali Khan, Tabu and Neelam on this trip when blackbucks were being driven out.
The land where these blackbucks were buried will soon have a memorial, said Prem Saran, one of the young people behind the project.
The memorial will have a statue of a blackbuck and 1,000 trees will be planted on the land where the dumb animal was buried, he said, adding that a few young boys in his community have formed a WhatsApp group that has launched fundraising. They collect around Rs 500 to Rs 1000 from each person to make sure they have around Rs 2 lakh for the memorial.
Recently a team with JCB machines was there to clear the field of debris and now we are going to start growing trees and building a statue of a black male. The memorial will be built in about a year, Prem said.
The reason it will take a long time is because the trees take a long time to grow. We want deer, blackbucks, and other animals to have a jungle feel while being located here. Many deer are scared to death after being scared of people passing by, so we want them to feel safe, he added.
This is the country where deer and blackbucks can be seen roaming free. In fact, they were roaming freely here 24 years ago as well when Salman Khan and the other stars killed them, he lamented.
They came here as tourists and Bollywood stars, but then slaughtered the animals. We don’t want this to repeat itself and therefore will create a dense jungle so that animals are safe in its green periphery.
We will also ensure that the place has a rescue center with medics so that if an animal is injured it can be treated immediately as currently the forestry team is taking a long time to come, Prem said.
About 7 bighas of land around the Chabutra were recently cleared with JCB machines and now around 1000 trees are going to be planted. “It will take about a year to complete the project, but we want people to come here and get inspired soon to save the environment and animals,” Prem said.
Kankani is the village where Salman Khan and the other stars of “Hum Saath Saath Hai” allegedly poached blackbucks in 1998. The Bishnoi community opposed them and approached the court.
On April 5, 2018, the Rajasthan Sessions Court found Salman Khan guilty and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment. Salman’s lawyers have appealed the conviction and the case is still pending in the High Court of Rajasthan.