Nagpur: The controversial killing of iconic tigress Avni that created a storm in entire country is again grabbing headlines for another dubious reason. A wildlife activist from Delhi who has picked holes in the investigation and has alleged that the Preliminary Offence Report (POR) registered in the case does not mention the name of the shooter, has found herself at receiving end as Forest Department officials are allegedly harassing her for raising the issue.
The Delhi wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra has been demanding stern action against the shooter Asghar Ali who eliminated the T1 Tigress, popularly called Avni on the night of November 2.
On Wednesday, Sangeeta reached Van Bhavan in Civil Lines to meet Head of Forest Force Umesh Agrawal. Heated exchange of words erupted between her and Agrawal. Talking to Nagpur Today, Sangeeta said that she has been visiting the Forest Department over the killing of Avni but the officials are giving no response to her demands. “Instead, attempts are being made to cover up the entire sordid episode,” the wildlife activist charged.
“When I demanded Agrawal to register offences against the shooter Asghar Ali in the matter of killing of the tigress Avni, he got furious and scolded me severely and in indecent manner. Agrawal phoned the Commissioner of Police and called police. Later I was brought to police station,” Sangeeta said.
Sangeeta further said that she apprised the police about the details of Avni killing. The police also extended cooperation over the matter. “I am camping in Nagpur since past 20-21 days. The Forest Department officials behave in weird manner. The documents showed the tigress was dead whereas the big cat was shot dead. The Supreme Court had not ordered to kill the tigress violating the laid down norms,” the wildlife activist lamented.
The delay in ballistic report in case of T1 tigress shooting has left officers of Forest Department in dark regarding the happenings on the night of November 2 when the beast was shot dead. The wildlife activist from Delhi has picked holes in the investigation and has alleged that the Preliminary Offence Report registered in the case does not mention the name of the shooter, and relevant sections of the Act concerned.
“I am meeting the officials concerned of Forest Department with a demand for registration of a case of criminal offence against Asghar Ali Khan, who shot dead T1 on the night of November2 in Yavatmal district. I am is getting ‘evasive’ answers to her queries from the officials. I want that case to be registered under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code, Indian Arms Act, 1959, Narcotics & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, Indian Veterinary Council Act, 1984, and also for violation of NTCA’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Moreover, there is inordinate delay in submitting the prime evidence in the case — rifle used by Asghar Ali Khan for shooting,” Sangeeta added.
She further said use of .300 magnum bullets to shoot at a tiger is a clear violation of the SOP of NTCA, which clearly says that .375 magnum bullet should be used to ensure a ‘quick and painless’ death to an animal. The wildlife activist claimed that shooter Asghar Ali Khan violated the Indian Arms Act by using a gun for which he did not possess a license as the license he later submitted to FDCM/Forest Department for the gun used in the killing was in the name of his father Nawab Shafath Ali Khan. Theactivist said that neither Nawab nor Asghar would surrender their license and rifle/gun to the Forest authorities as their name did not figure in the POR.
“I have also emailed my demand to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and also apprised him about the harassment to me by the Forest Department officials. Police fully cooperated with me and understood my position,” Sangeeta said.
When contacted, the Head of Forest Force Umesh Agrawal told Nagpur Today that even though he is chief here but the matter comes under the purview of wildlife officials. Hence I was not aware of the entire matter. But the wildlife activist was not ready to listen and understand my position. She herself created ruckus and accusing us of harassment, Agrawal clarified.