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

The tiger known as T1 was suspected of killing 14 people

At the time, the petitioners told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that if the tigress was shot dead, both her cubs would not be able to survive in the forest.

The BBC reported that T-1 and her two cubs killed three people in Pandharkawada, located in the Yavatmal district in India.

A forest ranger on Friday fired a tranquilizing dart into the side of the six-year-old big cat, believed to have slain 13 villagers, but she charged at his open-air patrol vehicle and a hunter shot her with a single, fatal bullet to the belly.

India's Supreme Court issued a hunting order for the tiger in September, ruling that she could be killed if tranquilisers failed.

The Supreme Court had earlier stated that the primary objective of the operation was to tranquilise and capture Avni and killing was proposed only as the last alternative.

"This matter must be investigated and treated as a wildlife crime".

Taking to Twitter, in a series if tweets, Gandhi lashed out at Maharashtra Minister of Finance and Planning, Forests, Sudhir Mungantiwar, and accused him of giving orders for the killing despite several requests from many stakeholders.

The big cat was blamed for 13 deaths since June 2016 but animal activists said she was trying to protect her young. The tigress was shot dead by Asghar Ali Khan, city-based hunter "Nawab" Shafat Ali Khan's son.

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

She added, "His son was not authorised to kill".

The cologne, tested with success on jaguars at the Bronx Zoo, got spritzed in areas of the western state of Maharashtra where the killer tigress was suspected of hiding. The India unit of animal rights organisation PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals - said that Avni was killed "in possible contempt of court and in apparent violation of the Wildlife Protection Act and the guidelines of National Tiger Conservation Authority", PTI reported.

Maneka Gandhi, a staunch animal activist and part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet, accused the state forest minister of hiring a "trigger-happy shooter" to slay the tiger.

The minister also criticised non-governmental organisations criticising Avni's killing.

When queried about the two cubs of the deceased tigress, Mr. Mungantiwar said that the two were now almost 11 months old and capable of survival in the wild. "When we plant trees, NGOs do not come forward and lend a helping hand", he said.

"We absolutely must ensure that Avni did not die in vain".

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