Police horse Shaktiman’s grim battle for survival ends
His maltreatment by the protestor led by BJP legislator Ganesh Joshi here last month had led to widespread outrage.
“Shaktiman was injured on March 14 after which we had to operate on him. He was later fitted with an artificial leg. But he was unable to fully recover from an infection,” SSP Dehradun Sadanand Date said. The 13-year-old was given a prosthetic leg and was confined to the police lines. It was a well trained horse and part of Uttarakhand Mounted Police for years.
“The horse passed away at 5.30 PM. He was suffering from medical-related complications. The exact cause will be known only after post-mortem,” IG Garhwal Sanjay Gunjyal said. Expressing shock over the demise of the horse, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat said, “It was a brave soldier of Uttarakhand and died while performing its duty.” Rawat said at one stage in recent weeks it appeared that the horse was getting well and trying to stand.
The horse had lost its leg after it was brutally beaten during clashes between BJP protesters and the police on March 14. BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi, accused of assaulting Shaktiman, was arrested after national outrage over the incident. Neha Joshi, the BJP MLA’s daughter, meanwhile, claimed many television channels have proved that her father did not harm the horse in any manner. “He has regretted the incident involving the mob,” she said. The BJP MLA is out on bail.
“Though the artificial limb was put on Shaktiman, it was not working well and he was putting his entire weight on the other leg. That is why the infection spread. Today also a lot of care was taken and about eight doctors attended to the horse. It is sad that we could not save him,” RS Meena, IG Law and Order, Uttarakhand, said.
Across the country, people have stood by Shaktiman and have demanded that action be taken against the BJP MLA. Many had argued that Shaktiman should be euthanised because of the pain and discomfort as he struggled to get used to his prosthetic leg.
Meanwhile BJP has said that it was not an issue to be politicised. “It is the loss of life of an animal,” a BJP spokesperson said, adding animal lovers across the country feel that a wrong was been done. “I think we all need to own this up at our own end,” the spokesperson said.
Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi said, “Shaktiman died the same day when it was attacked and its leg broken. Horses with such weight have very little chance to live on three legs. We were mentally prepared for this but political parties are playing blame games.”