Animal Welfare Board, Maneka Gandhi take cognizance of cruelty to bullocks during Ganesh idol rally

Nagpur: Following flashing of a report in Nagpur Today titled “Cruelty to animals: NCP leader Gajbhiye faces flak over huge Bappa idol pulled by bullocks,” cognizance was taken and further course of action was initiated by Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Even the former Union Minister and Chairperson of ‘People for Animals’ Organisation Maneka Gandhi has also sought details about the sordid episode.

It is pertinent to recall that Nagpur Today published a report on September 3 wherein an animal lover Ankita Shah had raised the issue of cruelty to animals and demanded action against NCP MLC Prakash Gajbhiye under provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and Pack Animals Rules, 1965.

As the 10-day Ganeshotsav commenced from September 2, various Sarvajanik Mandals installed attractive and huge idols of Bappa. The tallest idol of Lord Ganesh was installed by NCP MLC Prakash Gajbhiye’s Ekta Ganesh Utsav Mandal at Ambazari Hilltop. The massive idol was taken to the pandal from Chitar Oli in a procession. However, carrying of the huge idol on a cart pulled by bullocks alerted the animal lover Shah and she demanded action against Gajbhiye for treating the animals cruelly.

In a statement issued to Nagpur Today, Shah had expressed her shock over the ‘cruel treatment’ being given to poor bullocks. Shah said on September 2, in the procession being taken out by NCP MLC Prakash Gajbhiye a huge Ganesh idol on a bullock-cart was being pulled up by bullocks from Chitar Oli to Ambazari Hilltop, which is approximately 8.2 kms and have several hilly and mountainous roads on its way. As there were several police personnel in bandobast of this rally, she talked to one of them and pleaded to remove bullocks from the cart and use any other four wheeler to pull the idol, but he was helpless as the rally was of an influential personality. She subsequently, phoned Commissioner of Police for help, who forwarded her complaint to DCP of that zone Vinita Sahu. Shah got a call from her and she ensured that she will take action. She contacted API Wakade who was accompanying that rally. She received a call from him and he informed me that he had a word with the owner of the bullock-cart and he says that his bullocks can carry such weight. If you still have complaint, you go to police station and register a complaint, Ankita stated.

Following the publication of report, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWIB) took cognizance and sought details of the incident for further course of action. The Board has forwarded the complaint of Ankita Shah to the concerned authorities for action. The AWIB has also sought action taken report in this connection.

Furthermore, the former Union Minister and Chairperson of ‘People for Animals’ Organisation Maneka Gandhi has also sought details about the sordid episode. The well known animal rights activist and environmentalist, has sought the numbers of the concerned authorities as well as phone number of the NCP leader Prakash Gajbhiye. Subsequently, Ankita Shah has provided the phone numbers of Commissioner of Police Dr Bhushankumar Upadhyay (+91 99xxxxxx94), DCP Zone II – Vinita Sahu (+91 95xxxxxx14) and her own.

In her complaint to Maneka Gandhi, Shah had urged her to do something to prevent cruelty to animals. “It was a painful sight. Those bullocks were literally struggling to move ahead. Nobody came forward to rescue the animals. I am so ashamed of myself that I couldn’t do anything for them. Please ensure Madam that neither they nor anyone else use bullock cart at the time of Visarjan,” Shah demanded.

Now, it would be curiously seen what action the AWBI, Maneka Gandhi and city police initiate action in the matter concerning cruelty to animals.