Sad that Avni had to be shot: Fadnavis

Sad that Avni had to be shot: Fadnavis

Probe would look into "procedural lapses", said Fadnavis

Rattled by criticism and bad publicity on social media after the killing of Avni, the Maharashtra government on Monday announced a probe into the procedural lapses, if any, in shooting the tigress.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Finance, Planning and Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had come under severe criticism vis-a-vis the killing of Avni.

On Friday night, the five-year-old Avni aka T1 was shot dead in Pandharkawada area of Yavatmal district of Vidarbha, that is part of the central Indian tiger landscape.

The two 11-month-old cubs of T1 are missing and efforts are underway by the forest department to secure them. "We are sad, we all are sad, no one is happy that the tigress has been killed," Fadnavis told mediapersons during the customary Diwali-eve informal luncheon meeting at Varsha, his official Mumbai residence.

However, he added that the government would probe whether the standard procedures were followed or not. "According to the Forest department, the tigress had claimed 13 to 14 lives (in that area) and hence they had to take the decision (of shooting it). There are some reports that the tigress was shot and then the dart (was inserted)....this aspect would be probed...we will look into the procedural lapses," he said.

Fadnavis, however, said that the briefing reports with him states that dart was used first to sedate her, but she attacked the team, and the Forest department team had to open fire.

When his attention was drawn that while shikari and sharpshooter Shafath Ali Khan of Hyderabad was hired by the Forest department, his son Asghar Ali opened the fire, he said: "Doubts have been raised and we would verify it."



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Fadnavis said that a tiger is a "gentleman" and does not attack humans unless the humans encroach or violate their area. "There is human-animal conflict...Tigers attack when human enter their land and often turn maneaters," the chief minister said.

Responding to the charges made by Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi against Mungantiwar, he admitted the language/words used were "harsh", but said that she was an animal rights acitivists to the core and feels and cares for wildlife.

Referring specifically to the case of T1, Fadnavis added: "The decision was to dart her, rehabilitate her and see if she can be kept in a zoo, but she came attacking the (Forest department)  staff and had to be shot....we are all unhappy and sad."