NEW DELHI: Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Sunday lashed out at the Maharashtra government over "ghastly murder" of man-eating tigress Avni,
In a series of tweets, she called it a criminal act and questioned the state for ordering the killing. “This ghastly murder has put two cubs at the edge of a sad death in the absence of their mother,” Maneka tweeted.
Tigress Avni, who is believed to be responsible for the death of 13 people in the past two years, was shot dead in Yavatmal and is survived by two 10-month-old cubs. She was shot dead by Asgar Ali, son of famous sharp-shooter Nawab Shafat Ali, at Borati forest. “I am deeply saddened by the way tigress Avni has been brutally murdered in Yavatmal. It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite several requests from many stakeholders, (Sudhir) Mungantiwar, Minister for Forests, Maharashtra, gave orders for the killing,” Maneka said. She said she would take up the matter strongly with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
Mungantiwar, however, clarified that Avni was shot dead as a last resort when all attempts to tranquilize her failed and she attacked forest officials. “Nobody in the forest department wanted to kill the tigress and hundreds of forest officials had been trying to capture her alive for the last three months. As Avni had killed 13 people in the recent past, there was a lot of anger among farmers and tribals. All possible means were tried to capture the animal alive, but it had to be shot dead to save the lives of forest officials,” he said.