Reports of eight horses being mowed down in Frisal village of Kulgam district in Kashmir Valley has sparked a row, with the state police registering a case against “unknown security persons”, some locals blaming Army personnel for the animals’ death, and the Army strongly refuting the allegations and denying any involvement.
The horses were found dead in the early hours of Monday.
Animal rights organisation People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has, meanwhile, written to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and civil and police officials in the state and sought an “inquiry, followed by strict action” against those involved.
While nomads who were headed towards Rajouri with a large number of horses have alleged that the animals were “crushed” by Army vehicles, the Army, in a statement, said the nature of allegations — that Army personnel deliberately “rammed their Casspir repeatedly into the livestock” — is “viciously fabricated and even bizarre”.
“It is a clear attempt at vilification of the fair image of the Army and evinces a pattern in some sections of the media to malign the security forces, especially in these sensitive times,” the Army’s Srinagar-based spokesperson said in a statement issued Tuesday. “It is also an insult to the intelligence of readers to suggest that any one vehicle could cause such an incident where so many animals would continue to remain in the tracks to be knocked down by a vehicle while it goes to and fro.”
In a letter addressed to Parrikar, Mehbooba J&K Chief Secretary Braj Raj Sharma and state Director General of Police Rajendra Kumar, PETA-India’s emergency response coordinator Meet Ashar wrote, “We urge you to consider this matter with utmost urgency and immediately initiate an inquiry, followed by strict action against any member of the Army found guilty in this matter.”
Sabzar Ahmad, Station House Officer, Frisal Police Station, said the FIR against “unknown security forces” was registered on the basis of the complainants’ statement.