The Shiv Sena has issued a statement on Salman Khan's conviction and resulting 5-year jail sentence in the 1998 Blackbuck poaching case. Speaking on the matter, Sena MP Arvind Sawant has said:
"Salman Khan is really a wonderful human being. I feel sorry about him", Sawant said.
He refused to comment on the verdict, saying "judiciary is judiciary, when the verdict has been given by court, to comment on that and to create something..."
He did, however, ponder on what would have happened had the verdict been in Salman Khan's favour, saying, "You know, if it had been the other way, people would've said 'because he's a celebrity he has been given a chance, opportunity to get out of this'".
Finally, Sawant made mention of a possible appeal in the case: "Now that he's been convicted he must have got the rights to go to higher courts also."
The Sena's remarks follow those of a number of Bollywood personalities who have backed Salman Khan for being a 'good human being'.
Earlier on Thursday, Salman Khan was arrested and taken to Jodhpur Central Jail after a Jodhpur court held him guilty in the case. Salman Khan's co-accused actors Tabu, Saif Ali Khan, Neelam and Sonali Bendre were acquitted after having been given the benefit of doubt. Salman Khan's lawyers had argued for probation while the prosecution argued for maximum punishment under the Wildlife Protection Act.
The matter extends back to 1998 when Salman Khan had been involved in the killing of two Blackbucks near a Jodhpur village while he and the other actors were filming for Hum Saath Saath Hain. The final arguments in the case were completed in the Jodhpur court on March 28 after which the judgment was reserved till April 5.
All the accused actors were present in the court for the pronouncement of the verdict after arriving in Jodhpur on Wednesday. There were massive security arrangements at the court for a number of reasons, including a known gangster's threat to shoot Salman Khan.