A political blame game started on Wednesday evening following the death of Shaktiman, an Uttarakhand Police horse, days after it got a prosthetic limb. The horse had lost a leg allegedly in an attack by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator last month.
The accused, BJP leader Ganesh Joshi, defended himself by saying that he has nothing to do with Shaktiman’s unfortunate demise.
“Very sad. I already said that I am not at fault, if found guilty then cut my leg,” Joshi said to ANI on Wednesday.
Joshi, the legislator from Mussoorie, allegedly attacked and severely injured Shaktiman during a BJP protest against the Harish Rawat government at Dehradun on March 14.
Blame game starts
However, the Congress blamed Joshi for Shaktiman’s death. “Like Modi ji murdered democracy, a BJP MLA made fatal attack on Shaktimaan. Unfortunate”, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Animal rights activists, too, have reacted sharply asking the government to take action against the accused BJP leader Ganesh Joshi.
PETA India chief executive Poorva Joshipura said that the country should frame more stringent laws against animal assaulters so that people ‘like Joshi’ refrain from being cruel to them.
“We urge the government to act fast to ensure other animals are spared from cruelty and horrific deaths by strengthening the penalties for cruelty against animals,” Joshipura told IANS.
“Unfortunate & sad. It was a painful death for him. Animal laws must be tightened” PETA activist Bhuvneshwari told ANI.
The BJP, on the other hand, blamed the Uttarakhand government for the death of the animal.
“The state government is to be blamed for Shaktimaan’s death, the medical treatment was inadequate,” Uttarakhand state BJP president and leader of opposition Ajay Bhatt told the reporters.
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi hailed Shaktiman as a ‘police officer’ who died on duty and said that those who killed the horse must be arrested.
“The culprits should be arrested for killing a police officer (Shaktiman),” Gandhi told ANI.
The minister also said that horses are no more relevant in today’s police system as ‘they serve no purpose’.
Paying tribute to the police horse former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat said the state has lost one of her sons. “Shaktiman is not less than a martyr for us. He was a soldier who lost his life in the line of duty,” he said.
Death unexpected , say doctors
Doctors who operated on Shaktiman said the death was ‘unexpected’ and all measures were taken to save the brave horse.
“It was unexpected as Shaktimaan was recovering well. A brave horse has died and we must respect it,” Dr Phiroze Khambatta, Equine Ortho Surgeon of Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi Racecourse said. Khambatta operated on Shaktiman’s leg after the injury.
“We are very sad. Everybody did everything possible, what happened today is sad,” said Jamie M Vaughan, a US expert who treated Shaktiman in Dehradun last month.
Former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat paid tribute to the horse in person. “I am shocked, can’t express my feeling in words, we all thought Shaktimaan was recovering well,” he said.