India minister turns on own party over killing of man-eating tiger

How tigress Avni was shot dead in Maharashtra

This is Avni a six-year-old mother of two who was shot dead in Yavatmal Maharashtra last night

Tigress Avni, believed to have been responsible for 13 deaths in Maharashtra in the past two years, was shot dead in Maharashtra's Yavatmal district on Friday night as part of an operation in the forests of Borati.

However, she is said to have attacked the team who found her and she was shot by Ashgar Ali Khan, the son of India's most famous hunter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan.

For almost three months, equipped with the latest technology, 150 ground personnel, elephants and so-called expert trackers and shooters were on a quest to find Avni.

Sources also said that while the Supreme Court and High Court orders that allowed declaration of T1 as a man-eater were clear that every attempt should be made to tranquilize and kill, there was no evidence of any such attempt at the site.

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Reports said so far there is no information about her two cubs. According to information, she had allegedly killed 14 people so far.

Jerryl Banait, a vet and activist in Karnataka state who had launched appeals against the order, described the shooting as "cold-blooded murder".

But animal rights activists have been enraged by what they perceive to be the thoughtless killing of an animal vilified to seem like a "man-eater". Its Lead Emergency Response Coordinator, Meet Ashar, in a statement Saturday said, "Avni was killed illegally satisfying a hunter's lust for blood in possible contempt of court and in apparent violation of the Wildlife Protection Act and the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority". According to forest officials, the team tried at first to tranquilise her but fired the killing shot when they couldn't put her down.

Ms Gandhi also expressed concern over the well being of the two cubs left behind after the killing of their mother.

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The villagers are banned by the government from grazing their cattle in the reserve and have been taking them into the forest because there is little fodder close to their homes, our correspondent says.

This handout photo released by the Maharashtra Forest Department on November 3, 2018 shows the dead body of the tiger known to hunters as T1 after being shot in the forests of India's Maharashtra state near Yavatmal. There were reports that the state government chose to terminate his services after the intervention of Union minister Maneka Gandhi.

Services of controversial private marksman Shafat Ali Khan was also hired by the forest department.

Speaking to ThePrint, he had said, "The NTCA prohibits darting of animals at night, and during the day, it is impossible to spot her".

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She ultimately asserted that she would take up the issue with Devendra Fadnavis, the chief minister of Maharashtra.

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