Maneka Gandhi slams Maha govt for ‘brutal murder’ of Tigress Avni

New Delhi: Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Sunday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government over the killing of man-eating tigress Avni and termed it a “straight case of crime”.

Tigress Avni, who was believed to be responsible for the deaths of 13 people in the past two years, was gunned down by sharp-shooter Asgar Ali in Maharashtra’s Yavatman on Friday as part of an operation.

Reacting to the same, Maneka Gandhi, in a series of tweets, said, “I am deeply saddened by the way tigress Avni has been brutally murdered in Yavatmal.”

Vowing to take up the issue “legally, criminally as well as politically”, the Union Minister also came down heavily on S Mungantiwar, Minister for Forests, and said that many animals and not only Avni, have been gunned down on the latter’s directives.

“It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite requests from his own forest department and People all over India, Sudhir Mugantiwar, Minister for Environment and Forests, Maharashtra gave orders for the killing,” she wrote in another tweet.

“This is the third tiger being killed on directions of the Environment and Forest Minister. Earlier, a dozen leopards and 300 wild boars have been killed on his directions. I am shocked that such a person is continuing to hold a ministerial position,” Maneka Gandhi added.

The BJP leader also slammed sharp-shooter Asgar Ali, saying he was not authorised to gun down the tigress, and yet he carried out the task illegally.

“Every time he has used the Hyderabad shooter, Shafat Ali Khan and this time his son has also appeared on the scene illegally to kill the tigress. 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 direct orders of Mungantiwar. The tigress was a mother. Now her two cubs will also die,” she wrote.

Further informing that she would write to the Maharashtra Chief Minister urging him to take strong action in the matter, Maneka said, “We cannot allow this kind of insensitive and merciless attitude towards animals to prevail.”