BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi, accused of assaulting Shaktiman, the Uttarakhand police horse that died on Thursday, said he was ‘saddened’ by the death of the horse. He also reiterated that he had not assaulted the animal.
Joshi added that he would decide on what to do next, after ‘having a word with the leaders.’
“I am saddened by the death of Shaktiman. People should not play politics. I will be meeting leaders on Friday to decide the next action” said the MLA, who was arrested on March 18 on the charges of assaulting the horse, and later released on bail.
People vented their anger against him on social media.
“You have killed an innocent animal and still you have no remorse and regret (sic)” wrote Sanjay Dayal. Anuj Kumar Raghuvanshi commented: “you have not said sorry, where has humanity gone?”
Police said they would examine the case and seek the opinion of experts.
“The MLA was booked under animal cruelty law. In case of humans an accused has to face attempt to murder but there is no clarity for animals under the Act” Sadanand Date, senior superintendent of police Dehradun told HT.
He added that the police were thinking of having a memorial for Shaktiman in the police lines, where he lived and died.
“Perhaps we can rename the horse stable in his name,” Date said.
Meanwhile MLA’s daughter Neha took to Facebook and said she would fight to improve the condition of police horses.
“I am not going to simply sit and mourn and let his death go in vain. The Uttarakhand Police should learn from this tragedy and establish guidelines for the deployment of horses in mob control and law and order situations,” she wrote.
The MLA’s daughter, who sat on a dharna last month for the release of her father from jail, also had a word of advice for police horses, media and animal rights activists.
“Police horses deserve to be well equipped when deployed in sensitive situations…I request the animal rights activists to please stop these ad hoc attacks. It’s easy to work when you know the media will notice you,” she wrote.
The Bhartiya Janta Party is backing the accused MLA. Party general secretary Virendra Bisht said “the party stood with the MLA because he was framed for political reasons”.