NEW DELHI — What happens in India when you rip up someone else’s plants and saunter away?
You go to jail. Even if you’re a donkey.
News this week that eight donkeys had been jailed for four days for eating expensive saplings went viral in India, drawing a mix of ridicule and amazement.
The Indian government has been on a cleanliness kick, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has vowed to build tens of millions of toilets and clean up garbage in cities. According to the authorities, the donkeys were making a mess.
“We had warned the donkey owners a couple of times, but they didn’t pay heed,” said R.K. Mishra, a police constable, according to an interview that was broadcast on an Indian news channel.
Television footage showed the donkeys, in the town of Orai in Uttar Pradesh state, plodding out of a scruffy jail, walking single file, heads bowed. The way the scene was filmed made it look like a classic police perp walk.
Police officials in Uttar Pradesh accused them of eating young plants that had been put near the jail as part of a cleanup campaign. The plants were worth almost $1,000, the authorities said.
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