Order probe into tigress Avni killing if you want: Maharashtra minister tells Maneka Gandhi
Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar Monday took strong objection to Union minister Maneka Gandhi’s criticism of the state government over the killing of a tigress called Avni, saying she “lacks information” on the issue and can order a high-level probe if she wants to.
Mungantiwar’s statement comes a day after the Union Women and Child Development minister lashed out at the Maharashtra government over the “ghastly murder” of the tigress, T1, as she was known officially, calling it a “straight case of crime”.
The tigress, survived by her two 10 months old cubs, was believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the past two years. She was shot dead by sharp-shooter Asgar Ali in the Borati forest in Yavatmal district Friday as part of an operation.
In a series of tweets, Gandhi had stated, “It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite several requests from many stakeholders, (Sudhir) Mungantiwar, minister for morests, gave orders for the killing.”
The Union minister had said she is going to take up the matter with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis. Mungantiwar said Gandhi’s criticism “stems from her lack of information” on the issue and asserted neither he, as a minister, nor any of the secretaries in his department have the right to order such killings. Such decisions are taken as per the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, he said.
“She (Gandhi) loves animals. She is, however, minister for Women and Child Development. I have to consider the women who have been killed by the tigress,” Mungantiwar said. If she deems fit, she can suggest changes in the NTCA guidelines, the senior state minister said. The Maharashtra minister said orders to capture the tigress were given when she killed five people. But animal activists approached the high court and obtained a stay, which resulted in the big cat killing more people.