A horse attached to a Victoria carriage succumbed to internal injuries after a road accident in south Mumbai last afternoon. The carriage was moving from JJ flyover to Colaba at around 2 pm, when the horse, Sultan, was knocked down by a taxi near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST).
Following the incident, the BMC has promised to prepare guidelines for the safety of horses and use of horse carriages in the city.
After the two were hit by the taxi, Sultan’s owner, Naresh Shetty (30), fell off the tonga. Onlookers helped him up and rushed him to St George hospital. Sultan, however, suffered multiple injuries and died on the spot.
Sahil Sayeed, an eyewitness who was just behind the horse, said, “The rider jumped the signal and went ahead. He was also riding very fast. He went past the signal and rammed into a taxi coming from the opposite direction.”
Sultan’s owner Shetty has no recollection of what happened. He was flung onto a light pole, due to which he suffered head injuries. “I have no idea what happened. I was just riding the horse towards Colaba when we were hit. After people picked me up, I immediately went towards Sultan, but he had already died,” said Shetty. The horse’s corpse lay on the spot for quite some time, since Shetty’s relatives did not let BMC workers take it away.
The BMC has been doing little about the Victoria horses in the city. BMC’s Standing Committee Chairman Rahul Shewale said, “The tongawalas should always be on the left hand side of the road, as there is a threat to the animal’s life. The High Court had put a stay on the ban on Victorias, but these people purchase their horses and then claim to be living off the money they earn by ferrying tourists in Colaba. We will soon set guidelines for the same.”
BMC Commissioner Sitaram Kunte said he would look into the matter and then make a decision.
The matter is also being investigated by the police, who are checking CCTV footage in a bid to track down the taxi driver.
“We will be going through the CCTVs in that particular area and are in search of the driver,” said Senior Police Inspector P Juikar, MRA Marg police station.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered against the taxi driver under Sections 279, 337 and 429 of Indian Penal Code.
Ambika Hiranandani, co-founder, Mumbai for Horses, said, “The incident sparked outrage among animal rights activists.
“This is not the first incident in which a horse has lost its life due to negligence of the owner. Until we stop the plying of carriages and joy rides, horses will continue to meet their cruel deaths on the streets of Mumbai. Every single stable is illegal and yet, the authorities let them continue.”