Animal rights activists criticised Congress for using donkeys in their protest against price rise in the markets of Jabalpur on Wednesday.
The donkeys were made to lead the protest march, which started from Tilak Bhumi Talaiya locality and after crossing various parts of the city, concluded at Ghantaghar on Collectorate road.
The local unit of the Congress, which organised the protest, accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre and the state government for the failure to put check on price hike of domestic commodities and fuels.
Manish Kulshreshta, president of the Wildlife Tiger Conservation Group, told HT that the use of donkeys in a political rally or protest march was violation of the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
“Forcing donkeys in any sort of demonstration is an unnatural behaviour with the animal,” he said, adding, “The animal is generally tied with a rope or forced to move in a particular direction. Besides the pitch of slogans or loudspeakers is higher than 20 decibel, which is harmful for the health of the animals.”
Animal rights activist Shankarendu Nath Mukherjee said the political parties should be alerted on the issue of using animals in the demonstration as it violates provisions to check animal cruelty.
“If parties do such things, it creates a bad precedence,” Mukherjee said.
However, Congress city president Dinesh Yadav told HT, “Neither any placards or posters were put on the donkeys nor were they beaten to walk in a particular direction during the rally. So there was no violation of any animal cruelty Act provisions.”
Yadav said the donkeys were taken in the protest march to send a message to the public about the way the Centre and state governments were functioning.
“The Centre is not passing the benefit of the changing margins between domestic price and international price of fuel including petrol and diesel,” Yadav said.
Congress corporator Rajesh Sonkar said the state government was not reducing hefty VAT on the fuel, which was adding to woes of the common man who is already struggling with the price hike.