New Delhi: Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has reiterated her anguish over the killing of tigress Avni, reported ANI on Tuesday. She said, “Tigress Avni could have been saved if Maharashtra forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had been little more patient, sensitive and persistent.” Addressing Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Maneka said, “I request you to fix responsibility of (Avni’s) killing and consider removing the minister from his post.” (Also read: Sharpshooter Who Killed Avni to Sue Maneka For Calling Him Anti-national)
Maneka’s request comes a day after Fadnavis said the Union Minister had used very “harsh words” in her criticism of the way the big cat was eliminated. She had also came down heavily on Mungantiwar for giving the order to private marksman Shafat Ali Khan’s son to carry out the hunting operation. “Every time he has used Hyderabad-based shooter Shafat Ali Khan, and this time his son has also appeared in the scene illegally to murder the tigress,” she said in a tweet.
“His son was not authorised to kill. This is patently illegal. Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and qurantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under the order.”
Reacting to Maneka, Mungantiwar said on Tuesday, “If party chief and Maharashtra CM think that I am a burden then they can remove me. This can’t be decided by Maneka Ji (Gandhi) and, moreover, she is not authorised to do so. She (Maneka Gandhi) should work against malnutrition and child deaths, rather than seeking someone’s resignation. I also think tigers are important but I feel human life is equally important. Don’t know what she doesn’t understand.”
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai on Monday, Fadnavis said, “She (Maneka) has used harsh words. But her sentiments should be understood. All animal lovers’ sentiments are harsh regarding this incident. It was a difficult decision. Whether the procedure was correct or not will be checked.”
On Monday, minister Mungantiwar had said that Maneka “lacks information” on the issue and could order a high-level probe if she wanted to. He said, “Instead of lodging a complaint with the Chief Minister, the Union minister (Maneka Gandhi), if she wants, can order a high-level inquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge or a committee of sitting Supreme Court judges into the incident.” Mungantiwar’s statement was in response to Maneka’s outburst at the “ghastly murder” which she called a “straight case of crime”. The Union minister had said she was going to take up the matter “very strongly” with Fadnavis.