New Delhi: A committee constituted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to look into the death of tigress Avni has observed that tranquilizers used to drug the animal were handled by unauthorised personnel and regards the argument that firing was in self-defence as doubtful.
The killing of T1, as the tigress was officially known, on November 2 had led to outrage among animal lovers and wildlife organisations. It is reported that the animal was a man-eater and had killed several people in Yavatmal area of Maharashtra.
The NTCA committee formed to look into the death of the animal has taken a grim view of how the entire operation was handled. "Drugs used for tranquilizing tiger were handled by non-professionals and unauthorised personnel who are not supposed to handle or use the same," it said. "From the reconstruction of movement of T-1 and final position of body of T-1, it was moving away from road and vehicle on its traditional walk path while it was shot. Tigress wasn't aggressive and shown behaviour was natural as it was hit by a dart."
The committee also cast aspersions on how and why Asgar Ali - son of shooter Nawab Shafat Ali - fired. "Tiger's reaction was mistaken and shot was taken in a hurry by inexperienced Asghar Ali Khan. Evidence strongly supports above observation. In view of the facts, the firing in self-defence is doubtful," it said.
Immediately after the animal was killed, Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Maneka Gandhi had slammed the Maharashtra government for the incident. She had called it a 'ghastly murder.'
The Maharashtra government though had sought to defend itself by saying that while the incident was sad, it was also necessary.