Two policemen guard the main entrance to Dehradun police lines on Wednesday morning to keep out visitors. And the very few who are allowed in, aren’t permitted to carry cameras. They have tough job -- to stop turning a fallen horse into a showpiece.
The rush of reporters and VIPs to see and photograph the horse that broke its leg after being allegedly hit by a BJP legislator has worried the police. On Tuesday night, SSP Sadanand Date was flooded with phone calls after false news of the horse’s death was circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp.
It has been more than 50 hours since Shaktiman broke its leg during a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally. Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi faces three police cases for allegedly breaking the horse’s leg. But the lawmaker’s party has come up with a video to prove their point that the horse tripped and fell on its own.
Inside the campus, the show goes on. As the policemen get ready for the day, Shaktiman lies surrounded by guards. Most of them are volunteering their help.
One policeman is holding a rope tied around the horse’s left hind leg, which was operated on Tuesday. A steel structure with screws has been fixed around the operated leg. Shaktiman feels uncomfortable and tries to stand but is forced to lie as he cannot stand for at least the next six weeks.
“We feel sorry for Shaktiman, god will not spare those who have done this to our beta (son),” says a policeman, who has been standing with Shaktiman since last night.
The police stable has 11 horses. Shamsher, Veru and Aaisha are Shaktiman’s friends, an official says. “Aaisha, two year older than Shaktiman, is his lover. All four horses would regularly run and play for hours,” Dehradun police stable in-charge Shyam Singh Chauhan says.
Shamsher and Veru try to peep out of their pen to have a dekko at their friend. Nearby, Aaisha, a black mare, stands quietly.
You can take a horse to the grass, but can’t make him eat, particularly when it is in pains.
Shaktiman refuses to eat the grass offered to it as pain and drugs seem to have killed its appetite. Chauhan tries to feed the horse its favourite food -- jaggery. And the response is a stubborn neigh. It is lapping up just water.
“He is one of the most obedient and jolly horses. Normally it would eat a full diet but now it is eating very little,” Chauhan says.
Dr Kailash Nautiyal, a veterinarian with police department, inspects Shaktiman and gives instructions. “Shaktiman is strong horse and hopefully it shall recover,” he says.
Across the country, people have stood by Shaktiman and have demanded that action be taken against the BJP MLA. Many offers for donations are also pouring in.