Will Shaktiman lose a limb and, perhaps, his life too? Or will an alleged assault by a politician only end his decadelong police career?
Though the Uttarakhand government has constituted a team of the country’s best veterinarians, sources say the horse, who has suffered multiple fractures, will lose his job.
However, police officials rejected reports that the injured animal will be put down, maintaining that Shaktiman may be handed over to private stables or animal lovers if he is found unfit for police duty.
TV channels aired footage purportedly showing BJP legislator Ganesh Joshi flogging the horse with a stick during a protest meet, prompting a nationwide outcry and a war of words between the opposition party and the state’s ruling Congress. While the MLA denied the allegation and called it a political conspiracy, authorities have booked him for animal cruelty.
“A surgery is being conducted on the horse’s limb by the best experts,” said Dehradun SSP Sadanand Date. “The horse’s future will be decided after that but mercy killing will by no means be the option.”
Sources in the department told HT that if the doctors’ panel permits, Shaktiman can be auctioned for breeding purposes.
Date said Shaktiman is among nine horses serving in the mounted police unit and has received outstanding character reports through his career. “Besides ceremonial performances on Independence Day and Republic Day, he was also deployed on the difficult terrains of Kedarnath in 2011,” he said.