It is supposed to bring good luck. But for Sohail Khan (18) and Nadim Khan (15), the horseshoe business turned out to be sheer bad luck.
On Monday morning, Sohail and Nadim - both care takers were arrested by the Andheri Police Station after animal lover Vivek Bhatt spotted him removing horseshoes in front of customers and selling them.
It was while on his way to work on Monday that Bhatt saw crowds gathered on the Andheri-Kurla road. Stopping by to see what was happening, he saw 15 horses lined up.
“After one owner would remove and sell the horse shoe, that horse would then be passed on to the next boy who was then fixing a new shoe. This continued with the rest of the horses,” said Bhatt.
When Bhatt enquired about the price of the shoe, Sohail quoted the cost as Rs 3000. “But after I bargained, he brought down the price to Rs 800,” added Bhatt.
The duo have been charged under Section 11 (1A,B and L) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. If found guilty, the accused could be sentenced to one-month imprisonment or a fine of Rs 500 or both.
But while the police were busy transporting the two horses to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at Parel, Sohail ran away.
“Sohail is wanted and we are on the look out for him. Since one of the horses was violent, Sohail along with the policemen was trying to gain control of the horse. In the midst of this commotion, he ran away,” said Police Inspector B Pillai.
His accomplice Nadim who is a minor has been sent to Umerkhadi Jail and will be produced before the magistrate on Tuesday. The owner K Khan is currently in Uttar Pradesh and will be called for questioning.
Soon after, Bhatt contacted advocate Jaya Simha, also a PETA activist who intervened in the matter.
“These horse shoes are only considered auspicious if they come directly off the horse. Before the next customer arrives, they nail another shoe to the hoof.
"This could happen up to ten times a day because the demand for horse shoes is very high,” said Simha adding that PETA is pushing for the denial of custody of the animal right now.