Gang members fire at Bollywood star’s home in antelope killing row

Two members of a criminal gang have been arrested by Indian police for firing at the home of the Bollywood actor Salman Khan in retaliation for the star’s killing of two antelopes.

The Bishnoi gang, accused of several murders and extortion rackets, hails from a wider desert-based religious sect that considers the species to be the reincarnation of their guru.

Khan, 58, has been in its crosshairs since 1998 for shooting two blackbucks on a recreational hunting trip. The gang’s jailed leader, Lawrence Bishnoi, has previously threatened to kill Khan.

Two men on a motorbike shot at Khan’s first-floor apartment during the early hours of Sunday in the affluent Mumbai neighbourhood of Bandra, and also fired several rounds in the air before fleeing.

Khan, who is always guarded by armed police owing to threats to his life, was at home when the shots were fired.

The two men, aged 24 and 21, were arrested on Tuesday in the western state of Gujarat, police told Agence France-Presse.

“We were able to locate the two accused near a temple,” said Mahendra Bagaria, a Kutch district police officer. “One of our teams reached the temple and nabbed the accused.”

Members of the Bishnoi group pursued a criminal case against Khan for the blackbuck shooting for 20 years.

Khan was sentenced to five years in jail by a local court for violating a wildlife protection act in 2018. The penalty was suspended on appeal days after Khan was sent to prison, prompting Lawrence Bishnoi to warn soon afterwards that his gang would take the law into their own hands.

The gang leader has been accused of orchestrating several murders, including the killing of the Indian rapper Sidhu Moose Wala in 2022.

Khan has starred in nearly 150 films and television shows since his first hit in the 1980s and remains one of Bollywood’s most bankable figures. But his personal life has long been dogged by controversy.

In 2002, he allegedly ran over five people sleeping on the pavement in an upmarket Mumbai neighbourhood, killing one, in a late-night hit-and-run. He was cleared but authorities challenged his acquittal in 2016 and the case is continuing.


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