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Maha: BJP, Sena fight over committee to probe tigress killing

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

The BJP and its ally Saturday sparred over a committee formed by the government to probe the killing of tigress Avni after called the panel a "farce".

The big cat, officially known as T1, was shot dead in an operation in a forest in Yavatmal district on November 2, leading to outrage among animal lovers and wildlife organisations who accused the of violating norms.

The Friday constituted a four-member committee, comprising wildlife experts and officials, for an "in-depth" probe into the killing of the tigress.

Senior BJP leader and said the is willing to form another panel under Thackeray's leadership, if he so desires.

The committee is headed by of Forest S H Patil and includes of India member Habib Bilal, and Additional of

It will probe if established protocols and standard operating procedures were followed in the case and submit a report to the government.

In a statement issued here Saturday, Thackeray demanded that a panel be formed under a retired to probe Avni's killing.

"Those who had given 'supari' (contract) to kill the tigress have been made members of the (probe) committee. The committee is a farce," Thackeray alleged.

Taking a swipe at senior ally BJP, Thackeray said if backed saying he could not be held responsible for the killing, why did take credit for the surgical strike conducted in September 2016 to destroy terror camps, when the PM had not conducted it himself.

However, Mungantiwar said if Thackeray felt the committee is a "farce", then the state government is willing to form another panel under the Sena chief's leadership.

"Uddhav ji is an important figure in the BJP-Sena alliance. If he does not want to under him, he should realise I have already asked the to appoint a committee under retired judges," Mungantiwar said.

"Lowest level of politics is unnecessarily being played over the issue," the added.

Reacting to Mungantiwar's comments, Sena MLC and said she has requested Fadnavis to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Thackeray as the has "in-depth" knowledge of tigers and forests.

"If a committee is appointed under him, he will bring the truth out. However, the decision has to be taken by the chief minister and not Sudhir Mungantiwar, who is himself in the dock over allegations against him," Gorhe said.

Earlier, had lashed out at the state government over Avni's killing and dubbed it a "ghastly murder". Avni was the mother of two 10-month-old cubs.

The government, however, defended the killing, calling the incident "sad" but necessary after the tigress had attacked forest staff trying to tranquilise it.

The opposition NCP also dubbed the inquiry an "eyewash".

Asked about the opposition's criticism, Mungantiwar had said he had written to Gandhi, asking for an independent probe by judges into the killing of Avni.

"This inquiry (by SC judges) will happen when it has to happen, but the state government has to probe the issue at the earliest," he had said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, November 10 2018. 20:35 IST
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