The police horse that was allegedly attacked by a BJP MLA, causing a nation-wide outrage, underwent a surgical procedure to fix one of its hind legs after which authorities said no amputation was required.
The ghastly attack on the beast took place during a protest on Monday after which the Congress and main opposition BJP were locked in a verbal clash in the Uttarakhand assembly even as people poured their wrath on Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi for showing cruelty to the animal.
Police have registered a case against Joshi and his supporters under Cruelty to Animals Act in connection with the incident , while several animal rights activists including Puja Bahukhandi have also lodged a police complaint against the MLA for his “inhuman” act.
13-year-old Shaktiman was operated upon by a team of doctors from Pantnagar Veterinary College after which senior superintendent of police Sadanand Date said “The injury has been fixed and no amputation was required”.
There was speculation that the leg of the horse might need to be sawed off.
The attack on the horse of Uttarakhand Mounted Police occurred near Rispana bridge during a protest march by BJP to the state assembly. When intercepted near the bridge, BJP workers tried to jump over the barricades prompting security personnel, including the mounted police, to swing into action to control the protesters.
This enraged Joshi who allegedly began hitting the 13-year-old horse Shaktiman with a stick, fracturing one of its hind legs.
The equine was the cynosure of all eyes with Chief Minister Harish Rawat visiting the stable located at the police lines to inquire about its condition.
“A look at the horse shows the excruciating pain the animal is undergoing. A political party should not vent its frustration on a hapless animal in this manner.
“Political workers must learn the value of restraint and tolerance. It seems the word tolerance does not exist in BJP’s dictionary,” Rawat said.
Ganesh Joshi also visited the police lines stable.
Claiming that he had not inflicted injury on the horse, Joshi in a statement said, the animal went out of control during the protests and one of its hind legs got stuck in a hole dug up to put up the barricades. This had led to injuries to the horse, he said, and accused the government of hatching a conspiracy to “malign” BJP and deflect public attention from its own failures.
On the video being circulated on the social media showing him attacking the horse with a stick, Joshi said he was only trying to scare away the animal which had gone berserk, leaving a BJP worker badly injured.
Meanwhile, Joshi is being severely criticised on social media for showing cruelty to an animal.
While some are demanding that the BJP MLA be booked under criminal charges, others are advocating stern action by the party against him.
The matter rocked the assembly during zero hour when state BJP president and leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt demanded a debate on “deteriorating” law and order scenario which was reflected in the “repressive measures” adopted by the administration on Monday to quell an agitation by BJP.
Reacting sharply to Bhatt’s demand, parliamentary affairs minister Indira Hridayesh said a party which was itself responsible for the law and order going out of grip had no right to seek a debate on it.
She said cruelty shown towards a hapless animal by the BJP’s Mussoorie legislator had put the party on the backfoot in its so-called movement against corruption and collapse of law and order.
The BJP MLAs shot back, claiming Joshi was “innocent”.
The House was twice adjourned over the issue.
Bhatt later circulated three videos at a hurriedly called press conference at Vidhan Bhawan to claim that Joshi was not present at the scene of the incident when the horse got injured.
He said the horse fell and hurt itself after one of its hind legs got stuck in a hole near the barricades put up to stop BJP protesters from marching to the state assembly to protest against “rising corruption and collapse of law and order”.
One of the videos circulated by Bhatt also showed some BJP workers being attacked by mounted police during the protest march.
Party worker Jitendra Singh Moni, who was injured after coming under the hooves of the horse, is recuperating at the city’s CMI hospital with numbness in his limbs, Bhatt said.
Ganesh Joshi reached the spot after coming to know about some party workers being attacked by mounted police and tried to scare away the horse by striking a stick on the ground, Bhatt claimed.
Moreover, Joshi was tapping his stick against the ground in front of the horse whereas injuries were caused to its hind leg, Bhatt said, claiming Joshi’s innocence.
With anger mounting against the MLA, Bhatt regretted injuries to the horse and said BJP will bear the entire cost of its treatment as the “unfortunate” incident took place during a stir organised by the party