July 13, 2016 1:10:09 am
Just a few days after he got a statue at the site where he was injured, Shaktiman — the police horse that was beaten at a rally in Dehradun and died a month later — lost his spot.
The statue of Shaktiman, the 14-year-old horse of Dehradun’s Mounted Police which died on April 20, had come up at Rispana Chowk near the Assembly, the site where he was allegedly attacked by BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi during the rally on March 14.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat was supposed to inaugurate the statue but declined to do so, and on Tuesday morning residents woke up to the missing statue.
Various theories floated about the vanishing act. Some said politics had claimed Shaktiman a second time, others said the statue was removed on the advice of astrologer Bejan Daruwalla, who was on a visit to the city, while still others attributed it to the power of social media, which had been in overdrive criticising the installation of the statue of a horse while policemen and those who died for the formation of the state went unsung.
Accusing the CM of keeping the horse alive to divert accusations of horse-trading, Uttarakhand BJP spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan said Rawat had spent too much public money in erecting memorials to Shaktiman.
“We too feel bad for Shaktiman and he should have a memorial, but the CM has raised five memorials to him while those who have laid down their lives for the state haven’t even got a portrait. He was supposed to inaugurate two memorials on Monday — one at the Police Lines and another near the Assembly — but we have learnt from reliable sources that he didn’t do it on the advice of Daruwalla. The astrologer apparently said they were bad omens. And we discovered today that the statue near the Assembly had been pulled down,” said Chauhan.
Rawat, meanwhile, said the reasons were more prosaic. “No, Daruwalla did not whisper anything in my ear. I had been asked to inaugurate the statue but I declined politely. I was not guided by any superstition. I declined to inaugurate the statue because I didn’t want to be accused of playing politics with the death of a horse. Let the new chief minister of Uttarakhand inaugurate the park next year,” he said.
Rawat said the statue had been pulled down so that a park can come up around it. “The statue has been pulled down temporarily. Right now it was just a platform, I had advised that a park come up around the statue so that it reflects the sentiments of the state’s animal lovers,” he said.
Shaktiman’s death had evoked national outrage and led to a war of words between Congress leaders and the accused BJP MLA Joshi, who had charged the former of playing politics over a horse. Joshi had promised to name a park after Shaktiman if the BJP were to come to power in the state.
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