The leg of the injured police horse, Shaktimaan, has been amputated and his life is still hanging by a thread. The BJP MLA, Ganesh Joshi, has been arrested for attacking the police horse which is a rare phenomenon in a country where animal rights are as big a joke as the animal rights activists.
As the hashtag #PrayforShaktimaan trends, the BJP MLA says he is innocent and an honest inquiry is needed. Here is what has happened so far:
On 14th March BJP state unit organized a charged protest in Dehradun against what it said is a “corrupt and a complete failure” Harish Rawat government. Videos of some news channels indicated that the BJP MLA from Mussourie, Ganesh Joshi, snatched a baton and hit Shaktimaan. He also hit the ground several times and a nervous Shaktimann drew its steps while another BJP protestor caught the horse’s whip. This made Shaktimaan lose his balance and he collapsed with one of his rear leg also getting stuck in the railing.
Shaktimaan’s case caught the attention of cricket star Virat Kohli:
Actress Hema Malini:
and Alia Bhatt:
The BJP MLA hints that he wasn’t the one at fault and did nothing to Shaktimaan after which many news channels have changed the way they initially reported the incident. But keeping let us keep the political aspect and outrage aside and get set to ask a few straight probing questions.
As Madhu Purnima Kishwar rightly said :
“Really saddened at Shaktimaan’s plight.But real culprits are those who ordered use of horse mounted police to crackdown on unarmed protestors.”
Isn’t what she says correct? What was the need to bring a horse in such a charged atmosphere? In the era of vehicles such as bikes and jeeps what statement were the personnel trying to make bringing the animals in a human political conflict?
Next, what will they bring? Sniffer dogs?
Not only is this pathetic but it is extremely sad that an animal has to pay the price of human folly. In India animal right activism is often associated with Bollywood and provocative shoots that some actors do but they rarely make any long-lasting impact. It is high-time that animal rights activists change their game-plan at least in this country.
It is not that they have not done anything so far, but most animal rights activists in India do not employ India-specific strategies which are a big issue as they do not yield quick results. What works for animal campaigns in US or UK will probably fizzle out in India and so on.
Shaktimaan’s case is unique in all ways, for the first time animal rights have become the talk of the town, this happened after a considerable time after it came to light that the Indian Army euthanizes retired dogs and horses. After an online campaign by ordinary citizens government did listen and soon the Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain submitted a declaration to the Delhi High Court, stating that the Indian government is now working on formulating a policy to stop euthanasia of Army dogs post their retirement. Cow protection movement, veganism, dog and cat adoption drives are also picking up. One of the biggest victories for animal lovers is also the banning of the Gadhimai which found support from the majority in both India and Nepal.
In short, this country and its citizens have the nerves and the heart to stand-up for other living beings like Shaktimaan, dogs, cats, cows and they can achieve so much with the potent usage of Social Media.
Shaktimaan needs justice not only for himself but for other animals too.