It was an act too barbaric to go unnoticed. Animal lovers pan-India, flinched at the thought of an innocent horse mercilessly beaten, wincing in pain and rendered crippled. The grisly video has been circulating for days, making the weak-hearted nauseous.
Shaktiman, a handsome 13-year-old police horse, was going about his day when he was attacked by BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi in Dehradun, during a protest on March 14. The horse, who had been serving the police for 10 years, fell down writhing in pain, after he was delivered with violent blows on his left hind leg. The horse had to be immediately operated upon by a team of veterinary surgeons, after multiple fractures were detected in his leg.
After a successful surgery – when Shaktiman was on the road to recovery – his injuries turned gangrenous. To keep the festered wound from spreading to different parts of the body, eight vets were called in to amputate the leg. The horse was given a prosthetic leg from USA, which he is struggling to get used to. While his life has been spared, Shaktiman, unfortunately, will not be of police service anymore.
The episode is not about appalling hooliganism alone. A horse breaking a leg would not have grabbed eyeballs, but this case has made headlines. The reason being- a frightful case of animal abuse that surfaced in the garb of vicious political vehemence.
MLA Joshi, has now been arrested and sent to 14 days of judicial remand, but politics being a potent entity, will yank him out to ‘safety’ – after all it was only an animal he attacked. In a country where human lives are gambled with, in the name of the motherland (fret not, Mata), religion and a platter of beef, a wounded animal is inconsequential, his life unworthy.
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) lauded the MLA’s arrest on March 18, asking for the severest of punishments to be meted out to him.
The episode has disturbed us, not because the animal was brutally battered, not because it lost a leg, but because of the reach and immorality of politics. Of late, this politics has polarised minds, sensationalised issues, corrupted the society and done everything that was once deemed terrible. And yet, the power prevails, the government remains, and such condemnable acts continue to happen.
We are not an intolerant nation; we are a nation that is ceaselessly and inexorably tolerating such acts of pure sadism. It is disgusting that even animals are unwillingly being pulled in this gore game.