Avni Was ‘Facing Away’ From Shooter When She Was Killed: Report
The post-mortem witness report contradicts the forest department’s claim that Tigress Avni was shot in self-defence.
Avni, the man-eater tigress who was also known as T1, was shot when she was “facing away” from the shooter, The Indian Express reported quoting the post-mortem witness report.
Importantly, the dart on her left thigh did not show any impact of being "fired” from a tranquilising gun, the report said.
Avni is said to have been responsible for 14 deaths in Maharashtra's Yavatmal. She was killed in a forest in Yavatmal on the night 2 November, following a massive operation spanning over two months.
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The post-mortem witness report, submitted by four veterinarians and wildlife biologist Milind Pariwakam, contradicts the Maharashtra forest department’s claim that Avni was shot in self-defence.
Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and the state government have defended the incident, calling it ‘sad’ but necessary after the tigress had attacked forest staff trying to tranquilise it.
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According to The Indian Express article, the report includes two illustrations to show the bullet’s “entry point, [a] place where [the] bullet was lodged and the trajectory of the bullet” supporting “that the animal was facing away from the person who fired the bullet”.
While the post-mortem report states that “fascia beneath darted needle was intact”, the witness report also uses photographs to show that “the cannula of the dart had gone into the sub-cutaneous layer and had not penetrated into the underlying muscle”.
THE SHOOTER DENIES ALLEGATIONS
Meanwhile, shooter Asgar Ali maintains that he shot the tigress in self-defence and denied the “trigger-happy allegations” levelled against him.
“Tigress Avni was darted five times in two years, but couldn’t be tranquilised. The locals spotted her and we went with the intention that no human gets killed. The forest official fired a tranquilising dart but she charged at our vehicle, an open gypsy. I shot her in self-defence.”Shooter Asgar Ali, as quoted by ANI
Ali maintains that efforts were made to capture and save the tigress over a period of two years, adding that this time around as well, the team tried its best to capture the animal alive.
The forest ministry has ordered an inquiry into the events leading to Avni’s death, led by a committee with two experts — Bilal Habib from Wildlife Institute of India and Anish Andheria from Wildlife Conservation Trust.
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