The Maharashtra government on Friday set up a committee to look into the killing of tigress Avni on November 2 in Yavatmal. The six-year-old animal – the mother of two eleven-month-old cubs – had allegedly claimed at least 13 lives in Ralegaon forest since June 2016. Sharpshooter Asgar Ali, son of famous sharpshooter Nawab Shafat Ali, killed her.
The committee, to be headed by the Chief Conservator of Forests Nitin Kakodkar, was formed under the directions of Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, the Maharashtra Times reported. Wildlife Institute of India member Bilal Habib and Wildlife Conservation Trust Chairperson Anish Andheriya will also be on the panel.
The committee will examine whether all norms and directives were followed when Avni was killed, and submit a report to the Maharashtra government.
Avni died of excessive internal haemorrhage and cardio-respiratory failure, according to the provisional necropsy report, reports said on Friday. The examination – conducted by veterinarians from several institutions – pointed to the presence of liquid and gas in the animal’s stomach and intestines, indicating that she had not hunted or eaten for several days.
The Maharashtra government has claimed that Avni was killed after she attacked forest staff attempting to tranquillise her. However, this claim has been contradicted by an unidentified state government officer, who said Avni did not charge at her killers.
While Union minister Maneka Gandhi has described the shooting as “patently illegal” and a “ghastly murder”, Mungantiwar has accused Gandhi of lack of information about the matter.