New Delhi: Shaktiman, the police horse that lost its leg after being attacked during a BJP protest in Uttarakhand last month, died today after over a month of suffering.
- The horse's leg was broken during clashes between BJP protesters, police
- Was given a prosthetic leg and confined to police lines in Dehradun
- Many had argued that he should be euthanised because of the pain
The horse's story moved many across the country after it was seen in television visuals taking multiple blows and dragging its broken, mangled limb during the protest on March 14.
The 13-year-old didn't respond well to a prosthetic leg brought from the US, doctors said. It spent the past few weeks at the police lines in Dehradun, where a group of policemen took care of it.
BJP lawmaker Ganesh Joshi, accused of instigating the brutal attack on the horse, said: "I am very sad. I was not at fault...if I am found guilty, then cut my leg." The lawmaker was arrested and let off on bail last month.
He faced fresh criticism after the animal's death. Union minister Maneka Gandhi said: "Shaktiman was a police officer on duty and the person who put him through so much pain and ultimately killed him should be arrested for killing a police officer."
The animal was dragged into a fiery political row in the weeks before Uttarakhand was placed under president's rule - a controversial decision that has been challenged by the Congress in court.
Then Chief Minister Harish Rawat, fighting to retain his government's wafer-thin majority amid rebellion by Congress lawmakers, had said he would do everything possible to look after the horse and punish its attackers.
"I am shocked..we all thought Shaktiman was recovering well," Mr Rawat said this evening.
The BJP had accused the Congress of using the horse to target its lawmaker to try and keep him away from assembly proceedings and possible voting.
Amid the sparring, many had argued that the animal should have been euthanised because of the pain and discomfort as it struggled to get used to the prosthetic leg.
The horse was a part of the mounted police and had featured in parades since it was a three-year-old colt.