Tue, Nov 16, 2010
The animal, garlanded with footwear and bearing a plaque calling it ‘Sudarshan’, was kicked and beaten during a demonstration against the former RSS chief in Thane on Friday
The Congress party’s agitation against former RSS chief Sudarshan seems to have boomeranged, at least in Thane. On Friday, several Congress workers and leaders took out a mass protest rally from the party’s headquarters near Talav Pali.
Their only blunder was that they employed a donkey for the rally – and ended up freely abusing the animal throughout the hour-long protest.
The drama began around noon when several Congress workers began their protest march from the party office, leading a donkey garlanded with footwear and bearing a plaque calling it ‘Sudarshan’.
As the march progressed, with Congress workers shouting slogans against Sudarshan, the donkey was kicked and even hit with a stick. At times, to control the animal, the workers even pulled it by its mane.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the workers then took turns to sit on the donkey, thereby implying overpowering of the creature “representing Sudarshan”.
The entire incident, however, has irked animal welfare activists who have shot off letters to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Committee. Some of them have even decided to take up the issue with the Congress and other political parties, so that animals are not ever used again in protests. “The pictures are clearly disturbing. It’s obvious that the creature was distressed. Just because animals cannot complain, humans have no right to abuse them. It is a clear case of cruelty to an animal,” said Shakuntala Majumdar of SPCA, Thane.
She said she will take up the issue with the district collector and Thane police commissioner in the district Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Committee meeting scheduled for Monday. “I will urge the authorities to not only take stringent action against the workers who did this to a donkey, but will also make sure that no political party repeats such a thing,” said Majumdar.
Nilesh Bhanage, of Plants and Animals Welfare Society, also voiced his protest. “This is disgusting. Political parties should stop torturing animals just because they want to depict an animal as a political enemy. I will write to all parties to stop using animals altogether,” he said.
With activists uniting and spelling trouble for the Congress, the party leaders have resorted to damage control measures. “We depicted the donkey as Sudarshan who had passed rude remarks against our leader. We had no intention of abusing or hurting the donkey in any manner. If some people feel that we have abused the creature, I apologise. I will do so publicly if needed,” said Balkrushna Purnekar, Congress chief from Thane.
Cong flayed for abusing donkey at protest march