'Tribal, farmer deaths can't be ignored'

'Tribal, farmer deaths can't be ignored'

A file photo of Avni (Image courtesy Twitter)

Amidst heated exchange of words between Maneka Gandhi and Sudhir Mungantiwar over the killing of tigress Avni,  the Chairman of Maharashtra Government's farm mission said that the death of 13 tribals and farmers and terrified villagers could not be ignored. 

Farmers' activist, Kishor Tiwari,  the Chairman of Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban Mission,  blamed Gandhi,  the Union Women and Child Development Minister,  of taking an elitist, anti-tribals' and anti-farmers' position. 

Coming to the defence of Mungantiwar,  the Forest Minister,  he said that the teams of Forest department tried to dart and tranquilise T1 five times,  but she eluded the tracking teams. 

"Some people are twisting the facts and some metro-based activists are shedding tears over the death of the tigress overlooking the loss of 13 human lives and thousands of terrified people," said Tiwari,  the founder of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti,  who is working to address agrarian distress and prevent suicide by farmers. 

He accused Gandhi of ignoring the plight of farmers and tribals of Vidarbha.  "She is keeping mum over the recent killing of a tiger in Uttar Pradesh and earlier in her Pilibhit constituency," he said.  


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'Ill-preparedness in handling human-animal conflicts' 

Tiwari said that the guidelines of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was followed and the bullet was fired as a last resort only for self-defence. 

"Gandhi's love for animals is well known.  But she should also know that around a lakh people were living in fear in the area because of tiger attacks in the last two years," Tiwari said. 

He said that this is not the end of the crisis. "Rampant breeding of tigers in jungles had led to territorial fights, also, there is no strategy for tiger conservation, better management or increasing prey base to contain tigers within forests," he said, adding that the Pandharkawada division is too small to contain 10 tigers and hence the wild cats are straying out of jungles. "We need a proper plan to address it," he added.