Uttarakhand BJP legislator Ganesh Joshi’s arrest for allegedly brutally beating up police horse Shaktiman was politically motivated and under pressure from the Congress government in the state, the Mussorie MLA’s daughter told ANI on Friday.
“His arrest is overturning of democracy and constitutional processes. His arrest is only because of a political reason. He is not guilty at all,” said Neha Joshi.
Dehradun Superintendent of police Ajay Singh confirmed to HT that Joshi was arrested on Friday morning for breaking 14-year-old Shaktiman’s leg and said more arrests were likely. He was sent to 14 days judicial custody.
The BJP MLA is facing three cases in the local Nehru colony police station. One section pertains to the animal cruelty act while some other sections relates to hindrance in the official work and mishandling with the government employees.
Neha Joshi echoed the views of the BJP that criticised the Congress of trying to score political points off Shaktiman.
“Shaktiman’s leg broke because of an accident but Congress has played cheap politics in the entire issue,” party spokesperson Virendra Bisht said.
A BJP delegation met Uttarakhand director general of police BS Sidhu over the arrest as his supporters blocked roads.
Others welcomed the arrest.
“He is not an MLA, he is an animal,” Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav (JDU) told ANI.
Gauri Maulkhi of Peoples for Animal (PFA) – an animal right’s NGO - said she was happy that MLA was finally arrested.
A consensus should be made to make Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 stronger since “because the penalty for abusing animals in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 is a ridiculous Rs 50”.
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. The BJP leader has denied the charges.