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No Clue Why Witnesses Are Turning Hostile, Says BJP MLA Caught on Cam Assaulting Police Horse in 2016

In 2016, BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi was arrested  in Dehradun and charged with attacking the horse in whose leg was amputated.

In 2016, BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi was arrested in Dehradun and charged with attacking the horse in whose leg was amputated.

MLA Ganesh Joshi, who represents the Mussoorie constituency, said he has nothing to do with the witnesses turning hostile.

Dehradun: In a strange turn of events related to the infamous case of Shaktiman, a police horse that died in April 2016 following a month-long ordeal owing to broken bones, several witnesses have suddenly ‘turned hostile’ in the case.

Videos of the incident, which had gone viral when the news surfaced, showed a BJP MLA purportedly charging towards the horse with a stick. MLA Ganesh Joshi faces criminal charges under various sections of Indian Penal Code for assaulting Shaktiman that got injured in March 2016 during a BJP protest.

Sources told News18 that a total of 28 witnesses were identified in the charge sheet. Around six have so far recorded statements and most of the remaining ones have reportedly turned hostile. The hearing of the case is underway in the fast track court and final verdict is expected soon.

When contacted, MLA Joshi, who represents the Mussoorie constituency, said he has nothing to do with the witnesses turning hostile.

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“Most of the witnesses are policemen and they could not be influenced. The case was a conspiracy against me by the then Congress government. I was not even present at the spot,” Joshi told News18. When asked whether he regrets the death of Shaktiman, MLA said he didn’t kill the horse.

“It was the then chief minister Harish Rawat who is responsible for the death of horse as Rawat intended to ripe political benefit from the incident,” MLA alleged. Joshi said it was not him but Harish Rawat who was facing ‘curse’ for the death of the horse.

Rawat who headed the Congress government when the incident happened was not immediately available for his comments. Meanwhile, Congress vice president Suryakant Dhasmana said party won’t react to the baseless allegations of MLA Joshi.

“Shaktiman was a police horse, police had filed complaint and therefore police must ensure perpetrator goes behind the bars,” Congress leader said.

Shaktiman remained an ‘emotional case’ for the police force. In the memory of the horse, a statue has been erected at the police lines. A petrol pump has also been named after the animal.

During a BJP protest held in Dehradun in March 2016, Joshi was caught on TV camera purportedly charging towards the white horse, an allegation which MLA has repeatedly refused. The police then filed an FIR against the MLA who was then sent to 14 days of judicial custody.

Visuals suggested that the horse fell on the ground during ruckus. Efforts were made to save the 14-year-old animal and a prosthetic leg was fitted on his body but Shaktiman could not survive.

The incident created a political storm, bringing criticism from various quarters. A year later in October 2017, the present BJP government decided to withdraw case against Joshi but due to technical reasons the withdrawal of the case could not happen.

(With inputs from Deepankar Bhatt & Satendra Barthwal)

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first published:October 21, 2020, 15:07 IST