Fresh plea in Yavatmal man-eater tigress,Court ask “If she is a habitual man – eater”

Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has directed the Forest Department to make fresh submission on the current situation in the troubled are of Pandharkawda division stating how the man-eater tigress not attacking anyone since the last attack on August 28 could be explained if she is a habitual man – eater.

The HC has also asked the Department to explain the discrepancy in two of its orders – first one on September 4 stating that the cubs would be tranquilised and caught alive and the tigress would then be tranquilised or shot and the second order on August 10 putting the sequence in reverse.

An intensive operation is on to catch or shoot tigress T1 and catch her two cubs alive in the Ralegaon area of Yavatmal district, where 13 people have died in tiger attacks since June 2016.

The two directives came during hearing in a fresh plea by activists Sarita Subramaniam (Mumbai) and Jerryl Banait (Nagpur) praying for removing shooter Shafat Ali Khan from the operation as he was a shooter and not expert in tranquilising.

The bench comprising Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice S M Modak, while making it clear that it was not in any way looking into aspects already upheld by the SC, said the Forest Department should explain why no attack has happened in the area for the past more than a month and a half if the tigress was a habitual man-eater.

This was also one of the points raised in the petitioners’s fresh plea. “If the tigress is habituated to killing humans, why no attack had happened on anyone despite hundreds of personnel venturing deep into the forest for combing and search operations,” Banait told media, adding, “that’s why we want that the tigress should only bee tranquilised and not shot.”

Department lawyer Kartik Shukul stated that no incident had been reported precisely because since August 28 an intensive tracking and search operation is on for the tigress and her cubs and strict vigil is being maintained.

The petitioners have also questioned the appointment of Shafath Ali Khan on the ground that it was done a day before the SC order came on September 11. They also contended that Khan was an ace shooter but wasn’t good at tranquilising. They alleged that he was not co-operating with The Department staff on the ground and was causing hindrance. In support of this claim, the petitioners also submitted two complaint letters issued against him by Pandharkawda Deputy Conservator of Forest K M Abharna and Yavatmal Chief Conservator of Forest P G Rahurkar.
The HC, however, didn’t intervene on this point.

But the court asked the Department to explain the reversal of the points of action stated in the September 4 and September 10 orders by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) A K Mishra. The two clarifications have to come during the next hearing on October 19.Fresh plea in tigress case.