Police Friday arrested BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi, accused of assaulting a police horse ‘Shaktiman’ during a protest march here recently which led to amputation of one of its hind legs.
IG Garhwal range Sanjay Gunjyal said the MLA from Mussoorie was arrested from outside a hotel in Patel Nagar area on the basis of an FIR lodged against him and his associates at Nehru Colony police station here in connection with the assault on the police horse on March 14.
The official said Joshi was being interrogated. He, however, refused to disclose where the MLA has been taken.
Reacting sharply to the development, BJP lodged a protest with Governor K K Paul and alleged it was “abduction” of its MLA.
“The manner in which Joshi was picked up from outside a hotel suggests he was abducted. Those who picked him up were in plain clothes and it is not clear whether they were police personnel or goondas,” Leader of Opposition in Uttarakhand Assembly Ajay Bhatt said.
Bhatt said he had called on Governor K K Paul to register his protest against the manner in which the party legislator was picked up.
The action against Joshi comes a day after the arrest of another party worker Pramod Bora from Haldwani in Nainital district Thursday.
Dehradun SSP Sadanand Date said Bora along with Joshi was responsible for precipitating the fall of the horse during the protest March on March 14 which caused grievous injuries to one of its hind legs.
Meanwhile, the injured horse whose fractured hind leg had to be amputated late last night by a team of doctors at the police lines can now stand with the help of an artificial leg.
However, doctors attending on Shaktiman said it will have to be seen whether the prop is strong enough to support the horse which weighs four quintals.
Surgeon from Mumbai Feroze Khambatta, who led a team of doctors that operated on the horse, said he had performed eight similar operations in Nepal and Bhutan but on horses which weighed only two quintals.
As Shaktiman weighs four quintals it is not clear for how long he can stand and move with an artificial leg.
He is constantly under the watch of doctors and over two dozen police personnel at the police lines.
Shaktiman is a well trained horse and part of Uttarakhand Mounted Police for years. Chief Minister Harish Rawat also expressed concern over the horse’s condition.
The BJP has been demanding withdrawal of cases lodged against its workers including Joshi, asserting that they were being framed at the behest of the state government to cow down the opposition.