T1 killing: State, NTCA, hunters get HC notices
The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday issued notices to hunters Asghar Ali Khan, his father Shafath, the Maharashtra government, the forest department, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Yavatmal district administration regarding the killing of tigress T1 or Avni in November 2018.
The respondents have to submit their reply within eight weeks of the order date.
The bench had recently admitted two separate public interest litigations (PIL) filed by Mumbai-based non-government organisations regarding the issue.
Both petitions will be clubbed and decided together during the next hearing of the case.
One of the petitions was filed by Chembur-based Earth Brigade Foundation, demanding a special investigation team (SIT) be constituted to probe the “illegal” killing of the tigress. The PIL highlights that the state government’s investigation committee report mentions the darting of the tigress was unauthorised and the drugs used to tranquillise the animal were handled by unauthorised persons.
Jogeshwari-based Bezubaan Public Welfare Trust, which filed the second PIL, has sought directions from the court to register a first information report (FIR) against the respondents under various sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. It also sought that the act of eliminating the tigress be declared illegal and unauthorised.
“It took us four months since we filed the petition in January for the court to admit it. Now, we will fight until Avni’s killers are put behind bars and her cubs get justice,” said Hema Chowdari, trustee of Bezubaan.
The state government said it was aware of the petitions. “The matter is being discussed internally and details are being collated. We will submit our responses within the stipulated time frame,” said Virendra Tiwari, additional principal chief conservator of forest (Mantralaya), Maharashtra forest department.
The hunters were hired by the forest department to tranquillise or kill Avni, suspected to have become a man-eater. On November 2, tigress T1 was shot dead by a team, including the Khans, near the Borati-Warud road in Pandharkawada forest in Yavatmal. T1 is said to have killed 13 people since June 2016, which forced the forest department to initiate a hunt for the tigress.
A six-year-old boy died after falling into a 100-foot-deep borewell at Khyala Bulanda village here on Sunday. Son of a migrant labourer, Rithik Roshan, fell into the borewell around 9 am and was taken out at 6.30pm. Rithik's death is a is a stark reminder of a similar shocking incident two years ago in Sangrur district where two-year-old Fatehvir Singh had died after he fell into a 150-foot-deep abandoned borewell.
No immediate measures have been initiated by the authorities to check the stinking brackish blushing water flowing from the Harike barrage near here into Rajasthan and Ferozepur feeder canals even after over a decade of the polluted water making its way to agricultural fields and homes, resulting in crop losses and health problems among residents of Punjab and adjoining Rajasthan that receive the water supplied by it.
A truck driver was allegedly beaten to death by three youths on Sunday after the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala's vehicle grazed their car in Faridkot city. SHO Sandeep Singh said that the investigation has found that the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala, was beaten to death by the accused after a small accident at 9:30 pm on Sunday when he was on his way to Faridkot city from Sangrur to deliver packages.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Sunday asked Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann not to befool the farmers with announcements that their moong crop would be procured when the Centre has only agreed to buy 4,585 tonnes of the pulse, amounting to only 10-15% of the anticipated production. In a statement here, SAD kisan wing president Sikander Singh Maluka said Punjab was set to produce 4.75 lakh tonnes of moong.
Ferozepur Division manager Seema Sharma on Sunday conducted an inspection at the Ludhiana Railway Station. She also met a few railway union leaders and held a meeting with senior officials of the Ludhiana station. Senior divisional mechanical engineer and commercial manager Sudeep Singh also checked the operations at the station. Though senior officials termed it as a surprise visit, the Ludhiana railway staff, including the station director, were already aware of the checking.