A day after BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi was booked for attacking a horse in Uttarakhand, the incident drew a sharp response from Union minister and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi.
Reacting to the video showing Joshi hitting the horse, Gandhi demanded that action be taken against him, and said that he had brought a bad name to the party. Gandhi said she planned to request the higher-ups in the party to take action against him, CNN-IBN reported.
Joshi, however, termed the controversy as 'fabricated news' and claimed that he was hitting the ground with a stick and not the horse. He also claimed that the horse attacked a BJP worker after which the worker was admitted to the ICU.
Mussoorie MLA Joshi was accused of beating the horse with stick during a party's protest march in the state. The photograph of the animal lying badly injured with a fractured leg soon went viral on social media.
The MLA insisted that he had not inflicted injury on the horse, adding that it went out of control during the protests and one of its hind legs got stuck in a hole dug up to put up the barricades, causing it injuries.
"The party is aware of the incident. Party has taken a serious note of the incident. I am sure the party will take a call on this," Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters.
Such behaviour is unacceptable, he said.
Even as the MLA faces criticism from within his party, it remains to be seen if any action will be taken against him.
Meanwhile, even as reports began streaming in that the horse's leg had been saved, a petition on the website change.org has demanded that the horse should be provided with a prosthetic leg and transferred to an animal shelter. "Our culture teaches us to love and respect all living beings. A person as cruel as Ganesh Joshi only brings shame to the BJP and India as a whole," it read.
With inputs from PTI