Contempt proceedings into tigress Avni's killing ends

2/26/2021

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The Supreme Court on Friday closed the contempt proceedings in the killing of tigress Avni in 2018, after it was submitted that the order to shoot the animal was affirmed by the court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde noted that it has been brought on record that the shooting of the tigress was affirmed by this court. "We cannot review the decision which was taken by this court," said the bench also comprising A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian.

Petitioner Sangeeta Dogra submitted there were also celebrations following the killing of the animal, and it was contrary to the directions of the top court.

The bench replied that villagers might have been relieved by the killing of the animal, as it posed threat to them, and queried Dogra, how can authorities be held accountable for it?

"If the decision to kill the tigress was confirmed by this court, we will not review," said the top court. The top court was informed that no government officer was part of the celebrations conducted by the local villagers.

After a brief hearing in the matter, the bench asked Dogra to either withdraw the petition or it will be dismissed. The petitioner agreed to withdraw the petition.

On February 10, the Supreme Court had sought response from Maharashtra government on a plea claiming that tigress Avni, shot dead by a civilian hunter at Ralegaon in November 2018, was not a man-eater. The top court also demanded answers on the aspect of reward given over killing of the animal.

The top court decided to examine a plea by Dogra and asked her to prove her claim that human remains were not found in the animal's autopsy.

Avni was believed to have killed 13 villagers and in November 2018, she was shot dead near Borati village in Yavatmal by a team of Forest Department officials and a civilian hunter.

Avni, also known officially as T1, was killed after a massive hunt involving 200 paragliders, infrared cameras, and Calvin Klein fragrances. The incident occurred three months after the Supreme Court allowed authorities to shoot the animal, if tranquilizers didn't work.

Dogra moved the top court seeking action against those involved in the killing of the animal.

The petitioner submitted before the bench that human remains were not found in the autopsy of the animal. The bench also asked the petitioner, how could post mortem report establish that the animal was a man-eater or not?

Dogra replied that a man-eater would have nails and hair in the intestine for six months, but her stomach was empty.

Dogra argued that hunters were also illegally rewarded for killing her. The bench noted that the authorities flouted orders that they shall not reward anyone who kills (the tigress). The bench said it will issue notice in the matter, as the reward was a clear violation.

Dogra alleged that state authorities organized a function after the hunt, during which a silver idol of a tigress was handed to the civilian hunter.

Source: IANS

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