An illegal horse cart race was reported on the Eastern Express highway after Saturday midnight by a couple who informed police. However,by the time police reached the spot,the carts had disappeared. Anu Sethi and her husband Aarin Mehta said they had gone for a drive around 12.30 am on Sunday when they spotted horse carts racing near Vikhroli.
There were at least 10-12 carts,each with two horses,surrounded by about 50 bikes and many cars and autos. We found it odd and started following them, Sethi said. The horses were galloping fast cutting lanes,manoeuvring their way through traffic,while being whipped, Mehta said.
The couple said that somewhere between Vikhroli and Ghatkopar they asked the cart drivers to slow down. We were threatened by the people on bikes and autos to mind our own business or we would be in trouble, Mehta said.
That is when we realised that an illegal horse cart race is going on and the bikes and autos were part of the entourage and trying to make way for the carts,clearing traffic. Even the people on the bikes had whips, said Sethi,a canine behaviour consultant. The couple then called the police. On receiving the complaint,information was circulated to Navghar,Kanjurmarg,Vikhroli and Ghatkopar police stations. However,when the Vikhroli van reached the spot,they did not find the carts, said Ramchandra Valaskar,assistant police inspector.
The couple said they will file a complaint soon. They have a video clip of the incident.
Incidents like this have been reported before. In 2007,two horses were injured when they collided with a taxi in a similar race. While in 2009,an FIR was registered against unknown owners of horse carts who had allegedly participated in a race on Andheri flyover which led to the death of two horses.
Using animals for public performance without permission is illegal as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) and the Performing Animal Rules (1973 and 2001).
Such incidents are dangerous not only for animals but also for humans. We need to have sign boards on roads specifying that such activities are not allowed. We have a lot of patrolling on the Eastern Express highway and we will definitely take action if such an activity takes place, said Quaiser Khalid,additional commissioner of police (East region).