Massive media coverage in India for Salman Khan verdict

Khan in car Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Khan's sentencing is overshadowing all other news

Bollywood actor Salman Khan's five-year jail term for a hit-and-run incident in the city of Mumbai in 2002 received huge coverage in the Indian media, with some commentators wondering what awaits him next and others saying his sentencing is long overdue.

Khan has a massive fan base in India and beyond and his sentencing is completely overshadowing other news.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The story was front page news on Wednesday ahead of sentencing

"Salman Khan Gets 5 Years in Jail in Hit-and-Run Case, Breaks Down in Court" read the headline on the NDTV website.

The websites of the leading newspapers in English and Hindi ran live pages with banner headlines and plenty of visuals.

The Times of India's headline read: "Live Blog: Salman Khan sentenced to 5 years in jail in 2002 hit-and-run case".

Image copyright other
Image caption Every development in the story is being keenly covered

The Hindustan Times also ran a poll asking readers if the actor will be able to regain his standing after today's sentencing.

"Salman Khan convicted: do you think he can make a comeback after this setback?" the paper asked.

Hindi papers also gave the story top billing, with the daily Navbharat Times asking: "Will the High Court listen to Salman's plea?"

The India Today website said many believed that the actor would not be found guilty.

"In a country where film stars are deemed nothing less than deities, there is no way the most powerful one of them will be convicted - that was the notion almost everyone held till 11.13 am on Wednesday," Vinayak Chakravorty wrote on the website.

The FirstPost website said the punishment was "richly deserved".

"For 15 years Salman tried every possible trickā€¦ to escape punishment. He changed lawyers, deceived courts, courted the media, airbrushed his image - from the bad boy of Bollywood he tried Being Human. Yet, he is going to jail, getting the deserved punishment for his karma," Sandipan Sharma writes on the website.

Top Indian news channels have been broadcasting developments in the case as "Breaking News" since this morning.

Even before the verdict was announced, TV channels repeatedly showed visuals of Khan hugging his parents and leaving his residence for the court.

Popular TV news channel Times Now ran a countdown to Khan's sentencing, which came a couple of hours after the verdict was announced.

Meanwhile, #SalmanVerdict has been the top trend on Twitter in India and neighbouring Pakistan with mixed reactions from social media users. While some have expressed sadness over the sentencing, others feel "justice" must be done.

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