Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwari on November 5 said that tigress T1-Avni was killed only after she attacked the forest officials who were trying to catch her.
According to NDTV, since September, a team of 150 people equipped with the latest technology, elephants and so-called expert trackers and shooters have been tracking Avni using trap cameras, drones, a pack of trained sniffer dogs and a hang-glider.
Asked about Maneka's comments, Mungantiwar said: "In her heart, she has a lot of love for animals but along with it, I am sure, there is love for human beings also".
On October 17, The Bombay high court had sought the Maharashtra Forest Department's stand on a plea challenging its steps aimed at killing a "man-eater" tigress, roaming in the state's Yavatmal district forests. "We are still thankful to them for taking all the best measures, and we feel that the two cubs that are roaming on the landscape should also be captured by tranquilising to prevent man-animal conflict". Nor were there any police, as per the NCTA's guidelines.
Following the death of tigress, he said, "We will save the cubs as SC has directed us".
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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.
Gandhi also expressed concern over the well being of the two cubs left behind after the killing of their mother.
T1 is said to have been shot dead by Ashgar Ali Khan, son of India's most famous hunter Nawab Shafath Ali Khan. "The tigress had shown aggression to this villager". The staff started alerting the passersby about the presence of the tiger.
"In a reflex action of self-defense, the shooter fired from a distance of 8 to 10 meters". The tigress died on the spot.
Reacting to the killing of Avni, Gandhi in a series of tweets lashed out at the Maharashtra government for giving the orders to kill her despite opposition from several stakeholders.
Earlier, the tigress had gained massive support online and offline from conservationists and animal lovers who argued there was no conclusive evidence of Avni's role in any of the alleged human kills in Pandharkawada in the last 18 months.