Sabyasachi Patra

Cold-blooded murder of Tigress Avni

Cold-blooded murder of Tigress Avni

Tigress T1 which is nicknamed #Avni has been killed in blatantly illegal manner in Borati forest in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra.

The Maharashtra forest minister S. Mungantiwar has blatantly told a lie that the tigress #Avni was shot dead as the last resort when all tranquilising efforts failed and she attacked forest officers. The Hon’ble CM Devendra Fadnavis has now parroted the same lines. Any layman knows that if an animal or a human being is attacking you then it will come straight at you. In such a situation the bullet will hit straight in the face and not from the sides. Sad to see our public representatives resort to such lies.

A dart has also been inserted after the killing to make it look like as if the tranquilisation efforts failed and then it was shot at.

Tigress Avni killed and then a dart pinched on her body

Tigress Avni killed and then a dart pinched on her body

The Tigress T1 (Avni) was shot by Asgar Ali in the night. First tranqulising efforts should have been done. However at that time no veterinary officer was accompanying them. So it is very clear that these murders had gone there with intent to kill and pose for selfies with the body of the tigress. The shooting of the tigress in the night is also in violation of the NTCA guidelines.

These people have accused the Tigress T1 (nicknamed Avni) as responsible for 13 deaths of people. Unfortunately these cases have not been investigated properly and the blame has been apportioned on this tigress. There are other tigers in the area and the reason for blaming this tigress is because it has cubs. It is a simple strategy to eliminate breeding tigers to make the forest empty. There are pressure lobbies which don’t want wildlife so that a few individuals and corporates can profit.

At a time when humans are more and more entering into forests, and if by chance a person comes between a tigress and cub then the tigress will charge. In front of a tiger we stand no chance. However encounters of such kind doesn’t make a tiger maneater. Any puncture wounds on the bodies of the people killed can be due to scavengers like wild boars. The forest department hasn’t provided any proof whatsoever about this tigress killing man and eating man. All evidence is supposed to be based on a few pug marks. In the past there have been cases of murder where pugmarks have been planted later on to make it appear like a tiger kill. So more proof is required and the forest department doesn’t have any solid proof.

The Union cabinet Minister Maneka Gandhi has tweeted her disapproval.

She said that “It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite several requests from many stakeholders, Sh @SMungantiwar , Minister of forests, #Maharashtra gave orders for the killing.

“He has been doing this regularly and this is the third tiger being murdered besides several leopards and wild boars. 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.”

And interestingly his son who was not authorised to kill was not only present in the scene but was the person who killed the tigress.

Maneka Gandhi further said “His son was not authorised to kill. This is patently illegal. Despite the forest officials being committed to tranquilise, capture and quarantine the tigress, the trigger-happy shooter has killed her on his own under orders of Sh @SMungantiwar.

This ghastly murder has put two cubs at the edge of a sad death in the absence of their mother.”

Maneka Gandhi also brought to light the dubious antecedents of Shafat Ali by saying “Shafat Ali Khan has killed 3 tigers, at least 10 leopards, a few elephants and 300 wild boar in Chandrapur, #Maharashtra. He is a criminal known for supplying guns to anti- nationals and for a suspected case of murder in #Hyderabad.

I fail to understand why a state government should even bother about such a man let alone hire his services for illegal and inhuman acts.”




Shafat Ali Khan is said to have not cooperated with the forest officials and had hidden information from them so that the darting efforts couldn’t succeed. He had also instigated the local people against the tigress so that pressure could build up to kill the tigress.

Mr. Mungatiwar has to explain his nexus with a known criminal who supplies guns to anti-nationals. What is the minister’s compulsion for promoting a known criminal and his son and allowing them tiger hunting in Maharashtra? So possible reasons are speculated via social media forwards like the one below.

Mr. S. Mungantiwar has ordered this killing of the tigress. He has blood in his hands. We want an impartial investigation which is not likely to happen. We demand that S. Mungantiwar should immediately step down as a minister or be sacked by the Chief Minister.

Mr. Mungantiwar in his arrogance has rhetorically asked for enquiry by a sitting Supreme Court judge as he knows Supreme Court never allows a sitting judge into enquiries. Being in politics for along time he knows how to game the system. His arrogance stems for his power. His power due to him being an elected representative. We the wildlife and environment lovers, and the people who stand with the poor, oppressed and the voiceless, and the people who stand for dharma, rule of law, for ethics and justice vow to fight against this patent illegality and strike at the very root of his arrogance.

We will ensure that S. Mungantiwar loses his election. Yes we will campaign on the ground against him in the next election. Whether he contests from Chandrapur or any other place is upto him. We will be there campaigning on the ground.

Maa Durga will ensure that Mungatiwar loses the election.

#AvniAvengers

Sabyasachi Patra
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Sabyasachi Patra

Sabyasachi is an award winning Cinematographer and shoots for international broadcasters, feature films and corporates to make a living. He is a passionate wildlife filmmaker and photographer and has won awards and accolades for his documentary 'A Call in the Rainforest'. He has been striving to make his films and photographs full of life and emotion and write articles to educate and evangelise the need for conserving the last tracts of vanishing wilderness and wildlife in our country. He hopes that his wildlife films, photographs and writings force people to pause, look, ponder and ultimately take action.
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