If one piece of news has rightfully trended in social media it is the story of Shaktiman, from the Uttarakhand mounted police allegedly attacked by a BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi aided reportedly by a member of the same party, Pramod Bora.
Shaktiman who has served the nation with great sense of discipline (even when being beaten he waited for orders rather than kick Joshi on his face) is now on prosthetics after amputation. He will not be able to run or walk like he did.
The Congress government arrested the two accused though I am not sure they would have done the same if the culprits were from Congress and not the BJP. It is true that we have little or no expectations from our politicians and their behavior. Joshi said if found guilty his legs should be cut off. And BJP supporters on social media have started ranting that how come the nation’s love for animals is spilling over with this one incident while they remain silent on the butchering of cows. This is taking the Bharat Mata and the Gau Mata narratives to a different level altogether.
But my concern from this disturbing incident is that why do we still have the mounted police? It was in early 18th century when this force was introduced in France to reach areas where road connectivity was poor. In many parts of the world this force still exists but I am surprised why they are still in practice at all? Shaktiman could well be the petitioner now challenging the use of animals in policing often endangering their lives. Hopefully they won’t call him “anti-national”.
Kishalay Bhattacharjee is a Delhi-based journalist and author