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Salman Khan gets 5-year jail in blackbuck poaching case; others acquitted

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Salman Khan gets 5-year jail in blackbuck poaching case; others acquitted

A trial court in Jodhpur on Thursday, April 5, convicted Bollywood star Salman Khan in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case and sentenced him to five years in jail.

Other accused in the case, including film stars Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu, were let off by the court due to lack of strong evidence against them. A fifth person, Dushyant Singh, a local who was allegedly accompanying the actors when the poaching took place, has also been acquitted, Mahipal Bishnoi, the prosecution counsel, said, according to a report in The India Express.

The actor’s lawyers will now approach the Rajasthan High Court for bail in the case, the IE report said. An earlier report said Salman’s lawyers had moved bail application in sessions court. For now, however, Salman Khan would be taken to Jodhpur Central Jail and would have to spend time till he gets bail.

Jodhpur District Presiding Officer Devkumar Khatri pronounced Salman guilty of killing two blackbucks, which are an endangered species, on October 1, 1998 during a hunting expedition near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. A penalty of Rs 10,000 has also been levied on him.

Co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu were present in court during pronouncement of the verdict. There are two other accused in the case — travel agent Dushyant Singh and Dinesh Gawre, Salman’s assistant at the time. Gawre is still absconding.

The Bishnoi Sabha, a community committed to protect the blackbucks, has decided to appeal against other acquittals.

News agency ANI quoted Rampal Bhawad, the State President of Bishnoi Tigers Vanya Evam Paryavaran Sanstha, as saying that an immediate appeal will be filed over the acquittals of Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Tabu and Neelam Kothari. “We’ll analyse the judgment. We want an immediate appeal to be filed against those who have been acquitted and we also demand maximum punishment for Salman Khan,” he said.

The actors are accused of killing two blackbucks in Kankani village near Jodhpur on the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998. The actors were in the city for the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.

Salman, 52, had earlier pleaded innocence in the case, claiming before the court that the blackbuck died of “natural causes” and he was being “framed”.

Salman is facing charges under Section 51 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the other actors have been charged under Section 51 read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of the Indian Penal Code. Maximum punishment under Section 51 is six years.

HM Saraswat, the defence counsel for Salman Khan, said there are many loopholes in the prosecution’s case and the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond any doubt.

“Prosecution has failed to prove allegations against the accused and has engaged in tampering and fabricating evidences and documents as well as roping in fake witnesses to prove the case. It has even failed to prove that black bucks were killed by gunshots. Hence such investigation cannot be trusted upon,” Saraswat said during final arguments on March 28.

This is last of the three poaching cases against Salman from 1998 that is being heard at Jodhpur trial court.

The actor was earlier convicted and sentenced to prison in two of three poaching cases by a trial court. The two cases were related to poaching Chinkara, while the third and last case decided today was to do with blackbuck.

Two separate cases had been registered against the actor under section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, for poaching of two chinkaras in Bhawad village on September 26-27, 1998, and one chinkara in the Mathania area on September 28-29, 1998.

The trial court had convicted Salman Khan in both the cases, sentencing him to one year and five years in prison on February 17, 2006, and April 10, 2006, respectively. The convictions were finally overturned by the Rajasthan High Court which acquitted the actor.

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Punjab: Farmer’s rail roko protest enters 3rd day, disrupts train services

Many trains have been cancelled, short-terminated, or diverted as a result of the unrest, according to railway officials.

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Punjab Farmer

The rail roko protest of Punjabi farmers demanding MSP legal protection, a broad debt relief, and compensation for crops damaged in the recent floods began its third day today.

Many trains have been cancelled, short-terminated, or diverted as a result of the unrest, according to railway officials.

As part of their three-day agitation, the farmers have been blocking railway tracks at various locations in Faridkot, Samrala, Moga, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Tarn Taran, Sangrur, Patiala, Ferozepur, Bathinda, and Amritsar since Thursday.

In Punjab and Haryana, the protest has halted hundreds of rail passengers.

A train passenger at the Ludhiana station claimed that he had travelled by road from Jalandhar City in order to board a train to Gorakhpur, but the arrival time of the train was unknown.

Another passenger at the station claimed that the Amritsar-bound train that was scheduled to carry 12 members of his family to Bihar had to be cancelled due to the unrest.

Later, they discovered that the family had journeyed by road from Amritsar and that the train would leave from Ludhiana. He continued, however, there has still been no update on the train.

According to officials, the Ambala and Ferozepur railway divisions have suffered specifically as a result of the farmers’ unrest.

The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, Bharti Kisan Union (Krantikari), Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Azaad), Azaad Kisan Committee, Doaba, Bharti Kisan Union (Behramke), Bharti Kisan Union (Shaheed Bhagat Singh), and Bharti Kisan Union (Chottu Ram) are among the farmer organisations taking part in the three-day demonstration.

The angry farmers have stated that the three-day protest will end on Saturday.

Their requests include a financial aid package for those in north India hit by floods, a statutory guarantee of the minimum support price (MSP) for all crops, and a farmer debt forgiveness programme.

The Swaminathan Commission report’s proposals for MSP and a 50,000 crore flood relief package for the states of northern India are what the farmers are asking for.

In addition, they want the debt of all farmers and labourers to be forgiven, as well as compensation of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for the families of each farmer killed during the protests against the three farm laws that have since been repealed.

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Sankalp Saptaah: PM Modi today launches week-long initiative for aspirational blocks at Bharat Mandapam

The country’s Sankalp Saptah programme, which is being implemented in 500 aspirational blocks throughout 329 districts, seeks to increase block-level government while also improving civilian quality of life.

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Sankalp Saptaah

At Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced a week-long project named Sankalp Saptaah for the country’s aspirational groups.

He also conversed with attendees, including members from the panchayat and the block level.

The week-long programme, which is described in an official news release, is closely correlated with the national Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP), which Modi introduced in January of this year.

The country’s Sankalp Saptah programme, which is being implemented in 500 aspirational blocks throughout 329 districts, seeks to increase block-level government while also improving civilian quality of life.

Chintan Shivirs were held nationwide at the village and block levels to help with the effective execution of the ABP and to create strong block development strategies. The result of these careful considerations, which will be seen in each of the 500 aspirational blocks, is Sankalp Saptaah.

On October 9, the final day of the seven-day event, a celebration of the week’s worth of effort will take place under the banner of Sankalp Saptaah – Samavesh Samaroh.

Speaking at the inaugural function, the prime minister claimed that more than 25 crore people’s lives in 112 districts throughout the nation had been improved by the aspirational districts plan. He asserted that the quality of living had changed. Now, the aspirational blocks programme will be built on the success of the aspirational districts programme, he said.

According to the statement, about 3,000 panchayat and block level functionaries and representatives of the people are expected to attend the inaugural event at Bharat Mandapam, in addition to about two lakh farmers, block and panchayat level functionaries, and people from other walks of life who will participate virtually.

Starting on October 3 and running through October 9, each day of Sankalp Saptaah is devoted to a distinct development subject on which all aspirational blocks will focus. Sampoorna Swasthya, Suposhit Pariwaar, Swachhta, Krishi, Shiksha, and Samridhi Diwas are some of the themes for the first six days, according to the statement.

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Madhya Pradesh elections: Congress to release first list of candidates after October 5

According to the source, the party has received more than 3,500 inquiries from potential candidates who wish to run for office on the Congress ticket in the Assembly elections.

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Madhya Pradesh elections

As the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections draw nearer, sources stated on Friday that the Congress is expected to reveal its first list of candidates after October 5 as part of its strategy. A Congress source told IANS that the party will announce the names of the candidates at the ideal moment and that the campaigning for the Assembly elections is already underway.

The source stated that the party would issue its initial list of candidates after October 5, when it is anticipated that the Election Commission will have released its polling schedule.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party’s general secretary, will be in the state on October 5 to speak at a large public gathering, the source added, and her input will be sought before the release of the final list.

To narrow down the field of candidates for the elections, the party organised two sessions of the Screening Committee in the national capital.

According to the source, the party has received more than 3,500 inquiries from potential candidates who wish to run for office on the Congress ticket in the Assembly elections.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, will speak at a public meeting on Saturday in the Kala Pipla Assembly seat.

Two lists of candidates from the BJP have already been made public for the upcoming elections. Along with four other current MPs, the ruling party has included three Union Ministers in its second list. On Monday, a few hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke at a public gathering in Bhopal, the second list of 39 candidates was made public.

The list also included Kailash Vijayvargiya, the national general secretary of the BJP.

The list includes the names of three Union Ministers: Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State for Food Processing Industries and Jal Shakti from Narsinghpur; Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture and Chairman of the Party’s State Election Management Committee from Dimni-Morena; and Fagan Singh Kulaste, Minister of State for Rural Development and Steel from Niwas.

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