Dehradun: When a horse named Shaktiman died earlier this year, weeks after his hind leg was hit over and over with a stick, allegedly by a BJP law-maker, people from all over the country expressed grief and outrage. A statue of the horse, who was in police service and 14 years old when he died in April, was installed on Saturday at a major intersection in Dehradun in the hill state of Uttarakhand.
This morning, the statue was removed, amid criticism of tribute being paid to a horse while the hill state lacks a memorial for its dead soldiers.
A second statue of Shaktiman has been installed at the police headquarters – its future is also now uncertain. “I leave it for the next government to decide if this statue needs to be here or not,” said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat, who had visited the horse while he was being treated for his injuries.
Uttarakhand is due for elections in the next few months. When Shaktiman was injured, the BJP had accused the Congress government of Mr Rawat of trying to politicise the tragedy to turn public opinion against the opposition. Ganesh Joshi, a BJP lawmaker accused of causing the fatal injuries, was arrested and then granted bail.
After Shaktiman’s hind leg was amputated, he was fitted with a prosthetic limb brought in the America. But he did not survive. He was buried with police honours.