Tigress Avni shot dead in self-defence? Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis orders probe (File Photo)
As the political heat rises over the killing of tigress Avni, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday ordered a probe to check whether there was any procedural lapse in the case. The tigress, officially known as T1, was shot dead by professional shooter Asgar Ali on Friday night in compartment number 149 of Borati forest at Maharashtra's Yavatmal. The development came nearly two months after the Supreme Court on September 22 refused to interfere with the Bombay High Court’s decision to roll out a shoot-at-sight order for the man-eater beast. Avni had killed as many as 14 people in the last two years.
Addressing the media, Fadnavis on Monday said, "There is no happiness over the killing. The forest department took the decision since she had killed 13 to 14 people. There are some doubts regarding whether the tigress was first shot and then the dart inserted, this aspect will be probed".
The order for the probe into Avni's shoot-at-sight was following some specific inputs that suggest the tigress was shot after she attacked the forest staff trying to tranquilise her.
"We speak of increasing tiger population and conserving wildlife, and then, unfortunately, such a decision had to be taken. The tiger is a gentleman. He attacks only if his habitat is violated. Preliminary reports with me say the tigress attacked the forest department team and she was shot in self-defence," Fadnavis added.
In reference to Union Minister Maneka Gandhi's statement on Avni's killing, the Maharashtra CM said though she has used some "harsh words" her sentiments should be understood. "All animal lovers' sentiments are harsh regarding this incident. It was a difficult decision. Whether the procedure was correct or not will be checked," he was quoted.
Terming Avni's gunning down a 'ghastly murder', the women and child development minister on Sunday tweeted, "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".
I will take up the matter very strongly with CM Maharashtra Shri @Dev_Fadnavis ji.— Maneka Gandhi (@Manekagandhibjp) November 4, 2018
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar reacted strong to Gandhi's criticism, saying that the minister "lacks information" on the issue and can order a high -level probe if she wants to.