Mumbai: A day after union minister Maneka Gandhi lashed out at Maharashtra’s forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar over the killing of man-eater tigress Avni in Yavatmal, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis assured on Monday that his government would check if there were any procedural lapses in the killing.
Speaking with a select group of reporters ahead of Diwali, the CM said the criticism of the government in the way it hunted Avni has been harsh.
"Though Maneka Gandhi is a minister, she is also a core animal activist first. Her words are harsh, but we must understand her feelings. All animal lovers' response is harsh, including that of Aditya Thackeray's and Rahul Gandhi's," Fadnavis said.
Maneka Gandhi had posted a series of tweets on Sunday, saying she will take up the matter legally as well as politically.
Fadnavis also said that the decision to kill the tigress was a tough one and had to be taken because of the many lives that were lost.
"It was a tough decision. The choice was quite difficult. We are all really pained that the tigress had to be killed. But the forest department took the decision because 13 persons lost their lives because of her. We will verify the procedural objections that have been raised, particularly about the dart," he said.
Several activists have expressed concern over the shooting of T1 tigress, also known as Avni, who is survived by two young cubs. Many activists claimed that the dart looked to have been pinched later, after she was shot down.
"The tiger usually is a gentleman, doesn't attack humans unless the humans encroach on that land. We all know that. There is conflict about human-animal territory. Tigers attack humans only after they enter in the tiger's land," he said.
When asked why no efforts were made to tranquilise the tigress, Fadnavis said, "I have been told, she attacked the staff. There are very few hunters who can do this. But we will definitely verify if there was any professional lapse," he said.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had on Sunday attacked the BJP-led Maharashtra government for the “ghastly murder” of man-eating tigress Avni, saying a shooter who was sent behind bars for illegally supplying arms to terrorists was deputed to kill the animal.
In a strongly worded statement, Gandhi also said that the Hyderabad sharp-shooter Nawab Shafat Ali did not kill Avni on his own but asked his son Asgar Ali to carry out the “illegal” attack.