A BJP legislator accused of brutally beating up a prized Uttarakhand Police horse and breaking its leg was arrested on Friday morning, a day after the animal underwent an operation to replace the damaged limb with a temporary prosthetic one.
Mussorie MLA Ganesh Joshi was facing three separate police cases for allegedly breaking 14-year-old Shaktiman’s leg on Monday but the police didn’t arrest him, picking up one other man, despite nationwide condemnation of the incident.
The BJP has so far defended Joshi, who denied the charges.
The beloved police horse, Shaktiman, became a household name after a viral video clip showed Joshi brandishing a stick and appearing to strike the horse during a BJP protest rally. The incident triggered criticism from activists and rival parties as photographs of the injured animal spread on social media.
The video ended with the horse on its back and apparently in pain with a policeman trying to get it back on its feet.
Senior superintendent of police Sadanand Date told HT on Thursday a team of veterinarians amputated the horse’s damaged hind limb amid fears of spreading gangrene – a decomposition of body tissues.
“A permanent prosthetic leg will be fixed after a few days. Doctors believe the horse can lead the rest of his life normally,” Date added.
On Tuesday, veterinarians fixed a steel structure on the fractured limb during a surgery that lasted for five hours. They later decided to amputate the leg after failing to restore blood supply to the limb.
Police, however, said the horse will remain with the force despite offers for adoption poured in.
Date said Shaktiman has served Uttarakhand police for 10 years and therefore “police will prefer to keep Shaktiman in his home (stable)”.
Caretaker Shyam Singh Chauhan said the force is hopeful that Shaktiman, now kept in isolation, will soon be able to stay with its partner Aayesha and two “friends” Veru and Shamsher.
Gauri Maulkhi of People for Animal (PFA), a NGO working for animal rights, said it was if police agree, it was ready to keep the horse at their equine centre, the only such facility in Dehradun.
Police has so far arrested two people over the incident but yet to act against the MLA, whom the party has defended. Union minister and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi too has called for his expulsion from the party.