Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Sunday severely criticised the Maharashtra government for permitting a hunter to kill “man-eating” tigress Avni, calling it a “ghastly murder”.
“This is patently illegal,” the Women and Child Development Minister tweeted on Sunday. “I am definitely going to take up this case of utter lack of empathy for animals as a test case. Legally, criminally as well as politically.” She said she would take up the issue strongly with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The tigress, which is said to have killed 13 people, was shot dead in Yavatmal on Friday night by civilian hunter Asgar Ali, who was with a team of Forest Department officials.
Mr Ali was with a team of Forest Department officials. An official allegedly attempted — and failed — to fire a tranquiliser dart at the tigress following which she charged at the team. Mr Ali then fired in self-defence, an official told The Hindu .
In a series of tweets, Ms. Gandhi said Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had given orders for the killing of the big cat, despite requests from several stakeholders. The Minister said the controversial celebrity hunter Nawab Shafat Ali had been hired to kill the animal, and that his son, Mr. Ali, was at the scene illegally.
“His son was not authorised to kill. This is patently illegal. Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and quarantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Shri Mungantiwar,” Ms. Gandhi tweeted.
Alleging that Mr. Khan is a criminal supplying guns to anti-nationals who has killed tigers, leopards, elephants and wild boar and is involved in a suspected case of murder, Ms. Gandhi added: “I fail to understand why a State government should even bother about such a man, let alone hire his services for illegal and inhuman acts.”
Using the hashtag #Justice4TigressAvni, Ms. Gandhi noted that Avni’s two cubs were “put at the edge of a sad death in the absence of their mother”.