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Maharashtra tigress killing: Scores attend protest march in Mumbai

Hundreds of people Sunday held a protest march against the killing of tigress Avni and converged at Shivaji Park here to demand the sacking of Maharashtra’s forest minister as well as finding the big cat’s missing cubs.

The tigress, officially known as T1, was shot dead in an operation in a forest in Yavatmal district on November 2, leading to outrage among animal lovers and wildlife organisations who accused the state government of violating norms.

Maharashtra Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has come under fire from these organisations for the killing, though he and the state government have defended it, calling the incident “sad” but necessary after the tigress had attacked forest staff trying to tranquilise it.

Among those who attended the protest, called “Global March for Avni”, was Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam who called the tigress’ killing something that could not be defended.

“State Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar is expected to protect wildlife. However, wildlife seems to be most unsafe under his rule. His decision of killing tigress Avni cannot be defended or accepted under any circumstance. He should be sacked immediately,” Nirupam said at the protest march.

Following the protest, Aam Aadmi Party leader Preeti Sharma Menon led a delegation to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and asked him to ensure the rescue and rehabilitation of Avni’s two 10-month-old cubs.

P V Subramaniam of Earth Brigade Foundation, the petitioner who had challenged government orders to shoot tigress Avni, said the march was to seek justice for its “unlawful execution”.

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