MUMBAI: A veterinary services association has questioned the absence of a veterinary doctor during an operation in which "man-eater" tigress Avni was killed in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district.
The Pashu Chikitsak Mahasangh, in a letter to the state's chief wildlife warden, alleged that the order to tranquilise and capture the tigress was a "serious breach" of Section 30(b) of the Indian Veterinary Council Act 1984 as the task was entrusted to a private hunter, who is not a registered veterinarian.
It said Section 30(b) of the Act indicates that only veterinary practitioners registered either with the Veterinary Council of India or the Maharashtra State Veterinary Council are allowed to practice veterinary medicine.
The Pashu Chikitsak Mahasangh is a Haryana-based apex organisation of state veterinary associations. The tigress, officially known as T1, was believed to be responsible for the death of 13 people in the last two years.
She was killed on November 2 by Asgar Ali, son of famous sharp-shooter Nawab Shafat Ali, at compartment no 149 of Borati forest in Yavatmal as part of an operation. The big cat is survived by two cubs, which are 10 months' old.
"Even though the order mentions that there are two veterinarians in his team, reports from the field indicate that neither of them was present during this operation, and allowing Ali to operate in this manner is a wilful breach of the law," the veterinary association alleged in the letter written on Tuesday.
The incident is claimed to have taken place from a distance of 8-10 metres from the tigress.
No veterinarian was present on the spot and it seems very unlikely that the shooter may have had time to wait for the drug to work, it said.
"The whole exercise, as reported, seems to be extremely unscientific and illegally conducted," the body alleged. Chirantan Kadian, president of the Mahasangh, told PTI that the dose (tranquiliser) calculation and drug administration is the sole authority of a registered qualified veterinary doctor, while a hunter "is simply a quack".
"If a veterinary doctor needs shooting expertise of a hunter he may get the job done under his supervision. Not only tranquilising, but a veterinary doctor also has to revive the animal through a drug antidote," he said.
"No private hunter is in any way qualified and trained to manage the overdose consequences of drug, manage shock, dehydration, overexertion of the animals, that is frequent in such cases," Kadian said.
He further said the order to shoot the tigress should not be taken as a precedent and that in future, only services of registered veterinarians be used.
The killing of the tigress had sparked a war of words between Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi and Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, with the former publicly criticising the latter over the operation and seeking his ouster from the state cabinet.
As the row escalated, Mungantiwar Tuesday asked Gandhi to take moral responsibility of deaths of children due to malnutrition during her tenure and resign.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier said there was no need for Mungantiwar to resign and that he would speak to Gandhi over the issue.