Mumbai (Maharashtra): Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, who has been slammed by Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi over the killing of alleged man-eater tigress Avni, Tuesday demanded the latter’s resignation on “moral grounds” over the death of children due to malnutrition. Maneka Gandhi had earlier sought Mungantiwar’s resignation over Avni’s killing.

“Maneka Gandhi has called for my resignation though I had nothing to do with the killing of the man-eater tigress. If I am to take the moral responsibility for something I have nothing to do with, our Central leader should set an example for me and resign taking moral responsibility for the death of children in the country due to malnutrition during her tenure,” he said.

The Maharashtra Forest Minister also invited her to tender her resignation with him on moral grounds. “We can tender our resignations together on moral grounds,” he said further. Maneka had demanded Mungantiwar’s resignation killing of the “man-eater” tigress Avni in Yavatmal district, which she termed as a “ghastly murder and a straight case of crime”.

Avni, officially known as T1, was believed to have killed at least 13 people in the last two years. She was killed on November 2 by sharpshooter Asghar Ali Khan in an attempt to tranquilize the tigress. Khan, however, claimed that he shot her in self defence. The big cat is survived by two ten-months-old cubs.

The Union Minister had also sent off a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, asking him to “consider removing” the minister. “I request you to fix responsibility for the illegal killing of the tigress and consider removing Mugantiwar from the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment and Forest in the state government,” she said in the letter.

“If the environment and forest minister resorts to killing animals instead of protecting them, he is definitely failing in his duty. This is something like the WCD minister working for child traffickers,” the Union minister for Women and Child Development wrote in her letter.

She also said that the alleged man-eater tigress could have been saved had the minister in charge of the Forest department been a “little patient, sensitive and persistent”.

To which, Devendra Fadnavis said there was no need for the forest minister to resign over the issue. “I will personally speak with the union minister and clarify the whole matter. The government respects her sentiments towards wildlife and animals,” he told reporters in Osmanabad.