Union Minister and a known animal rights activist, Maneka Gandhi, on Sunday launched a blistering attack against her own party’s government in Maharashtra for ordering the klling of tigress Avni. Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said that the killing of Avni had left her saddened and she planned to strongly take up the matter with the state’s chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis.
In a series of tweets, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said, “I am deeply saddened by the way tigress Avni has been brutally murdered in Yavatmal.” Calling it a ‘straight case of crime,’ Gandhi said that despite ‘several requests from many stakeholders,’ Maharashtra Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had chosen to give orders for the killing of Avni.
Using the hashtag #Justice4TigressAvni, Gandhi wrote, “He has been doing this regularly and this is the third tiger being murdered besides several leopards and wild boars. Every time he has used Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan, and this time his son has also appeared in the scene illegally to murder the tigress.”
She added, “His son was not authorised to kill. This is patently illegal. Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and qurantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Sudhir Mungantiwar.”
The minister said that Avni’s killing had forced ‘two cubs at the edge of a sad death in the absence of their mother.’
Gandhi, who holds the portfolio of Women and Child Development in the Centre’s Narendra Modi government, wrote, “Shafat Ali Khan has killed 3 tigers, at least 10 leopards, a few elephants and 300 wild boar in Chandrapur, Maharashtra. He is a criminal known for supplying guns to anti- nationals and for a suspected case of murder in Hyderabad.
“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.”
She said that she will take Avni’s killing ‘legally, criminally as well as politically.’
Tigress Avni, allegedly a man-eater, was shot dead on Saturday in violation of the guidelines issued by the forest department and the Supreme Court.