New Delhi, November 7: A day after Maneka Gandhi sought Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar's resignation over killing of alleged man-eater tigress Avni, the latter hit back at the union minister and asked her to step down on 'moral grounds' over the death of children due to malnutrition. Mungantiwar invited Gandhi to tender resignation togather.
“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,” the Maharashtra minister said.
“We can tender our resignations together on moral grounds,” Mungantiwar added. Maneka Gandhi had written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asking him sack Mungantiwar, describing killing of Avni as a “ghastly murder and a straight case of crime". She also stated that she had repeatedly requested Mugantiwar to ensure that the tigeress was tranquilized and quarantined.
Avni was a five-year-old tigress identified as T1 who had caused widespread fear in Maharashtra's Vidarbha forests. She was shot dead early on Saturday near Borati village in Yavatmal district. Maneka earlier had hit out at the minister on Sunday saying that it is a "straight case of crime" and said that Mugantiwar had earlier directed killing a dozen of leopards and 300 wild boars.
Avni died after three months of a massive hunt undertaken with the help of trap cameras, drones, trained sniffer dogs along with a team of forest department officials and spotters. As per Supreme Court directives, forest department officials are required to first tranquilize and trap such an animal, but in Saturday's operation, Avni allegedly attacked the stalking team which shot her.