Gadkari defends Mungantiwar on Avni killing

Gadkari defends Mungantiwar on Avni killing

Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari

After the killing of tigress Avni, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Saturday came to the defence of Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar,  who is under fire from all quarters.

Gadkari's stance is contrary to the demand of his senior Cabinet colleague and Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi,  who had demanded the resignation of Mungantiwar.

Earlier,  Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had ruled out the resignation of Mungantiwar and stated that he would speak to Gandhi on this issue.

"What about the death of 13 tribals and farmers,  who died for no reason. No one is shedding tears for them," Gadkari told reporters in his hometown Nagpur.

"We are sad that the tigress had to be shot as that too as all other options had exhausted," he said,  adding that it pains him when he sees the families whose relatives had been killed by Avni. 

Showering praise on Mungantiwar,  he said that the Forest Minister was the driving force behing the tree/sapling plantation in Maharashtra, which is a world record. "In fact,  he had played a key role in in conservation and hence the number of tigers have gone up in Vidarbha," he said. 

Meanwhile,  in a related development,  on Sunday evening,  marches would be held in Mumbai's Worli Seaface and Nagpur - from Maharajbag Zoo to RBI Square - with a demand for justice to Avni and save her two cubs.

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