Indian media report that the ruling Congress and opposition BJP in Utttarakhand on Tuesday exchanged charges over the attack on a horse allegedly by BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi during a protest here even as the issue dominated the social media with people pouring their wrath on the Mussoorie legislator for showing cruelty to the hapless animal.
Badly battered, bruised and fractured in the hind limb by BJP's Ganesh Joshi, Shaktiman, one of the most decorated horses of Uttarakhand Police, was operated for four hours by a team of four veterinary doctors on Tuesday.
Ganesh Joshi denied all allegations and said that he is ready for any probe as he was only hitting on the road and not the horse. "If allegations are proved correct, I am ready to sacrifice my left leg, " Joshi said.
Police has registered a case against Joshi and his supporters under Cruelty to Animals Act in connection with the incident, while several animal rights activists including Puja Bahukhandi have also lodged a police complaint against the Mussoorie MLA for his "inhuman" act.
When intercepted by police near Rispana bridge on way to the state assembly during a protest march yesterday, BJP workers tried to jump over the barricades prompting security personnel, including the mounted police, to swing into action to control the protesters.
This enraged Joshi who allegedly began hitting a 13-year-old police horse named Shaktiman with a stick, causing fracture in one of its hind legs. Grieved by the brutal attack, the rider of the horse has told Indian media that Shaktiman was as gentle as a cow.
After news about the horse being injured during protests by BJP spread, Chief Minister Harish Rawat visited the stable located at the police lines where it has been kept for treatment.
Rawat asked sub-inspector Shyam Singh Chauhan, who is looking after the injured animal, to take good care of the horse in consultation with veterinary doctors.
Rawat also asked Dehradun SSP Sadanand Daate to take the help of doctors of the Veterinary Hospital, Chennai. "A look at the horse shows the excruciating pain the animal is undergoing. A political party should not vent its frustration on a hapless animal in this manner.
"Political workers must learn the value of restraint and tolerance. It seems the word tolerance does not exist in BJP's dictionary," Rawat said.
Mussoorie MLA Ganesh Joshi also visited the police lines stable to enquire about the horse's condition.
Denying the charges levelled against him, Joshi said it was part of the state government's conspiracy to malign him and his party and deflect people's attention from its failures.
Claiming that he had not inflicted injury on the horse, Joshi in a statement said, the horse went out of control during the protests and one of its hind legs got stuck in a hole dug up to put up the barricades. This had led to injuries to the horse, he said.
On the video being circulated on the social media showing him attacking the horse with a stick, Joshi said he was only trying to scare away the animal which had gone berserk, leaving a BJP worker badly injured.
Meanwhile, Joshi is being severely criticised on social media for showing cruelty to an animal. While some are demanding that BJP MLA be booked under criminal charges, others are advocating stern action by the party against him.
Scroll down to view the video tape and images of the brutal attack on Shaktiman by BJP's Ganesh Joshi and aftermath.
See the video here: