Petition to Chief Justice of India
Punish Sudhir Mungantiwar for the Murder of National Animal
The killing of Avni has outraged people across the nation because, in a sense, it represents the same senseless violence that appears to have gripped us in recent years. And the politics behind this tragic killing appears to have the same sense of déjà vu. How people in power use a conflict situation as an opportunity to grab land (hundreds of hectares of precious forest land in this case) and sell it at a throwaway price to their business cronies. And, once again, the same names reappear as beneficiaries. But let’s start at the beginning. Who was Avni? Avni was a six-year-old tigress, the mother of two ten-month-old cubs. She was officially known as T1. Avni’s home was Pandharkawada in Yavatmal district. Pandharkawada is a small forest being rapidly encroached upon by the locals as well as those who come in search of lime, coal and dolomite. For a mere Rs 40 crore, almost 500 hectares of the forest was given away (you could say almost gifted) by the government to Anil Ambani, currently much in the news for the Dassault offsets. Ambani was to set up a cement plant there. The plant, of course, got promptly sold off-lock, stock and barrel to another business house for Rs 4,800 crore, thus benchmarking the land’s actual value. While Avni and her mate were planning a family, which would have in turn grown the tiger population in the forest, several industrial groups were also eyeing the land. There was another cement plant coming up there as well as a power plant. Others were also lining up, eager to grab a part of the forest and, as we all know, there were ministers in the Congress (and in the current BJP) always ready to sign away forest land. It is a big business today. But Avni didn’t know that. She saw it as her home. Luckily, tiger habitats are not easy to give away- for the tiger is a protected species. So Avni became a headache. There was only one way to get rid of her- to spread the lie that she was a man-eater. That is very easy to do in a place like Yavatmal, often referred to as India’s suicide capital. Years of neglect of local farmers, successive droughts, lack of irrigation, missed monsoons, mounting debts and frequent crop failures have brought the region to its knees. Promised loan reliefs never came. Things are so bad there that people are even ready to kill themselves for a paltry compensation so that their families may live. In this tragic (and unfortunate) situation, claiming compensation from wildlife deaths could fetch someone’s family three times more money than death from drinking pesticide or hanging from a tree. That is why it was convenient to pin the moniker of a man-eater on Avni. Every death that took place out there, natural or unnatural, began to be attributed to her. This campaign was started by the state’s minister of forests himself, Sudhir Mungantiwar, who has been accused by his own party leader Maneka Gandhi (a former Union minister of environment and forests and renowned for her work among animals) of being on a killing spree since he became minister. “I am shocked”, she said, “that such a man is allowed to hold this portfolio.” She also pointed out that the murder of Avni- stealthily and in the dead of night, violating every wildlife law of the country- was “nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite requests from his own forest department and people all over India, Mungantiwar gave the order to kill.” And whom did he hire for the kill? A shooter called Nawab Shafat Ali Khan from Hyderabad, with a history of many run-ins with the law. In 2005, the Karnataka CID (forests) caught him for illegal shooting expeditions-punishable under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. KSN Chikkerur, former IG of CID (forests), described him as “a very trigger-happy man”. But the charges against him are not just limited to poaching. In 1991-92, the Karnataka police had arrested him for allegedly supplying weapons to Maoists operating along the Andhra-Odisha boundary. To justify the killing, recent deaths in the region were blamed on Avni-all 13 of them DNA tests, however, were only done on three, and two of them showed signs of a tiger kill. But none of those tests conclusively proved it was Avni who was responsible. Yet, the campaign continued. Stories were spread about how Avni had become a threat. By law, a man-eater is a tiger that kills humans for food and, till the very end, there was no evidence that Avni had ever killed humans for food. In fact, conservationists will tell you that tigers see humans as predators, not prey. The notion of a man-eater is ridiculously old-fashioned, created by the British to justify hunting. But Mungantiwar kept shouting from the rooftops. And as the rumours grew, secret plans were laid out on how to kill Avni. The Nawab was brought in. His CV declared that he had killed 250 nilgai in Bihar in public interest. Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Preeti S Menon has, in an article, described how many NGOs were ready to offer tonnes of fodder to the villagers to stop them from grazing in the forest and there was even a proposal to solar-fence the forest zone. But the minister was adamant. Avni had to go. Even the courts urged restraint. Maneka Gandhi promised to bring in an expert team from Madhya Pradesh to tranquilise and relocate Avni. But the minister kept assuring everyone that the Nawab would only be an observer while the veterinary teams would trap the tigress and her cubs, as per the law. What finally happened was a cold-blooded murder. The Nawab’s son-Asghar Ali, who (some claim) was not even authorised-slunk into the forest in the night, violating all regulations, and shot Avni dead. Like in all fake encounters, the excuse was lame: “The tigress attacked us”. What did you expect it to do when you sneaked up on her and her cubs at night? Forensic tests, however, disprove even that. They reveal that the bullet went through her shoulder, passed through the ribs and came out through the other shoulder. This clearly shows Avni was not attacking them at all but going away into the forest, to avoid a confrontation. Those who have examined the body say a tranquiliser gun was fired at her long after she had been killed, to prove that attempts were made to capture her alive. And all this while the law says you cannot tranquilise a tiger at night. Also, as per sources, Avni was shot by a .300 Win rifle which has a bullet diameter of 7.62 mm and the bullet weight is about 11.50 gm. This is not a caliber permitted for shooting tigers as per NTCA guidelines. Also, the rifle had a night vision thermal scope attached to it to aid shooting in complete darkness. Why would you need that if you were not shooting her at night, violating all laws? Attempts are also being made to replace the bullet which was recovered from Avni’s body with a 33.10 gm bullet used in a .458 Win Mag rifle which the shooters claim they used for the shoot. A letter has been issued to the Nawab and his son to deposit their rifle and a live cartridge for ballistic testing. But they have moved the weapon out of the state and have not complied with the order. Rumours say that attempts are being made to use political influence in Delhi to get that letter withdrawn. Avni is dead. Her cubs lie orphaned and will probably die. They are too young to hunt for food on their own. The minister is strutting around, boasting his decision and making offensive statements against Maneka Gandhi for exposing him. And the forests, as usual, are up for sale, while the locals barely manage to eke out their indigent existence. The people want a probe. They want the forests minister to go. But will he have the dignity to step down? Or will the chief minister have to take a call on this? And will he?
Petition to Prime Minister of India, MR Narendra Modi
T1 Avni's killing - NIA probe is must to unravel the truth
Hon’ble Pradhan Mantri ji, Sub: The killing of T1 Avni – Request for NIA probe Inspired by your message on the occasion of the Environment Day to connect people with the nature, we have started www.thenatureconnect.com through which we keep raising issues of ecological importance. We have been running campaigns to save the environment, save the Parsik Hills and mangroves and wetlands in Mumbai Metropolitan Region etc., We salute you for your commitment and making a strong pitch for tiger conservation. Inaugurating the 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation two years ago, you have rightly said: "We need to define conservation as a means to achieve development rather than considering it to be anti-growth. I strongly believe that tiger conservation or conservation of nature, is not a drag on development." We would like to bring to your notice a crucial issue related to man-wildlife conflict – the killing of T1 or Avni tigress which had been declared a man-eater. This also brings into sharp focus the debate over the disappearance of Jay, the tiger which had mysteriously disappeared into the oblivion. The iconic tiger, per media reports, went missing from Maharashtra’s Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary, Nagpur, and is presumably dead now.. These issues are of grave concern to all wildlife lovers and those who are keen to preserve the bio-diversity and ecological balance. This calls for a thorough probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as any internal probe could be biased. CBI, sir, has its hands full and the Board itself mired in its own internal feuds. The killing of T1 has in particular raised several questions as, apparently, no efforts were made to take alternative routes either to isolate or tranquilise the tigress. Veterinary experts say that the NCTA (National Tiger Conservation Authority) guidelines and SOPs were not adhered to. Noted veterinarian and forensic expert Dr Prayag H S tells us that proper procedures were not followed even before declaring T1 as a man-eater. There is no concrete and substantial evidence to show this either, he says. Supporting the request for an NIA probe, Mr Kishor Rithe, Founder of Satpuda Foundation, tells thenatureconnect.com that the inquiry must take into account the human-carnivore conflict as 13 people had lost their lives in Yavatmal and over 90 in Chandrapur districts. In such a situation, blaming one Tigress is improper. The issue needs to be addressed address from centre as well as state. We demand that the comprehensive, high-level investigation must find out the causes behind this conflict and come out with solutions. This will help to avoid many big cats following the Avni story in Vidarbha. As Mr Rithe says, we should not to use hunters in any such operation and only forest shooters to be deployed which can avoid bias. “It is also very important to keep tiger corridors (identified by WII) safe from developmental projects.” Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishtan (SEAP), NGO fighting for environment protection, also joins us in requesting you for an NIA probe into Avni’s killing. SEAP head Nandakumar Pawar says: "it's a cold blooded murder”. There are many more statements coming up. Let various politicians say what they want. Many may also make emotional points. But, sir, we are concerned with justice and the rule of law. Only an impartial, unbiased and un-involved inquiry will bring forth the facts which could help save the wildlife. Couldn’t Avni have been saved? The way the tranquiliser dart was shot, the way the big cat was killed….all raise doubts in the minds of right thinking people. Truth must come out and sanctity must prevail. As the Chairman of the National Wildlife Board and as animal lover, we are confident, that you will agree with us that only a high level probe by NIA will help unravel the truth. Jai Hind! Yours sincerely, B N KUMAR Editor-in-Chief: www.thenatureconnect.com (Pic Representative)
Petition to FIELD DIRECTOR/AREA DIRECTOR-BANDHAVGARH TIGER RESERVE, CHIEF WILDLIFE WARDEN- GOVT OF MADHYAPRADESH
LET'S STOP THIS TIGER SHOW
THE UGLY TRUTH BEHIND THIS PRETTY PICTURE Please read the SAD truth behind this stunning picture. This is a lovely tigress named Kajri. Daughter of the famous Spotty in Bandhavgarh. It was a hot summer afternoon and we were patiently waiting for a tiger sighting, when we suddenly heard loud calls of a barking deer. The thrill of that echoing call is what I keep going back to the forest for. It is what makes Tiger tracking such an art and an absolute adrenalin rush. I don't just go for photography, nor with any guarantees of sightings. Just hope and love for the forest and what it might show me! However, it was 4:30 pm and still quite hot for the Tiger to move around. The calls faded as the barking deer carried on. We concluded that the Tiger was sitting in the water behind the bushes. So we decided to wait for it to cool down a little. Big cats are more likely to walk late evenings. Then a mahout on the elephant appeared. They are supposed to patrol the forest and ensure the well being of the tigers and also the forest. He surveyed the 10 odd jeeps that were waiting. This seemed like a signal for the mahout who started charging the elephant towards where the tigress was relaxing. We were a little unsure of what he was planning. Next thing we know, the tigress is being forcibly shepherded/chased onto to the road for tourists to see. The elephant scooped the tigress out of her preferred spot, much against her will. She looked distressed and snarled repeatedly at the mahout, while the entire lot of jeeps rejoiced and took pics, including ours. This pretty pic was taken during this ruckus by one of the Jeep members. I could not help but wonder how one could be proud of a tiger sighting/photograph like that? It was a CIRCUS! I couldn't bear to look at the tigress who was reduced from a fearless beast to a helpless cat. To complete this organized RACKET, we saw the mahout collect a tip from all the jeeps one by one. This collusion was shocking to watch, even though am told it's an age old practice in the most famous Tiger reserve in the country. But I ask, how does that make it less shocking?? Also we were shocked to find that another tigress Spotty (kajri's mother) was also subjected to even worse treatment by the mahout+elephant. As nature lovers, we must REJECT and object to such photo opportunities and discourage the blatant infiltration of space of wild animals. We are in their land. And to be honest, Bandhavgarh has great natural sightings. There is no need for this malpractice. It is pure greed that is driving this, nothing else. Ironically, Madhya Pradesh also has some of the most disciplined parks- Kanha and Pench. The management there is top notch and they truly respect the animals. So let us all speak up against such pressure that photography puts on our guides and drivers. They are all good people at heart. But are a victim of social media pressure from us tourists. I for one would rather go without a tiger sighting, than see one in this fashion. Safaris are a matter of chance and luck. We must accept that. Please support and share this petition to stop this being repeated.
Petition to Ms Mamata Bannerjee Honorable Chief Minister Govt Of West Bengal, Kolkata INDIA, MIC ENVIRONMENT , FOREST & CLIMATE CHANGE GOI
Hunting festival by tribal people in village forest to be banned immediately.
13th April 2018 is black day in Indian wild life history. ‘HARMLESS’ ROYAL BENGAL TIGER AXED TO DEATH BY VILLAGERS.In an unfortunate incident the Royal Bengal Tiger that had arguably strayed away from Odisha’s Simlipal National Park into West Midnapore’s Lalgarh and adjoining forests — once dominated by the Maoist guerillas — about 42 days ago was found dead deep inside the Baghghora forest range, locals said. The full grown beast that hardly killed a man despite constantly shuttling between the boondocks of Bankura and West Midnapore interspersed by numerous human habitations and largely thrived on wild boars, deer etc was speared and axed to death, forest staff said adding a postmortem would reveal whether the death was caused only due to sharp injuries or whether it was poisoned earlier. The incident took place amid the month-long hunting festival of the local tribal population, sources said adding the tiger injured two villagers when a group of 70 entered the forests of Madhupur and Baghgora to hunt birds and animals. The injured villagers, Babul ad Badal Hansda, were taken to Midnapore medical college and hospital.Sources said the locals speared it to death perhaps as a revenge for attack. Others said it could have been part of hunting festival. A half-eaten wild boar perhaps hunted the previous night was found in the vicinity the dead animal. “It is well possible that the locals after sighting the half-eaten prey might have poisoned it. And when the tiger ate the remaining part of its hunt after a brief rest as the big cats do during the day time it fell to its death. After the tiger passed out it was speared and axed,” an expert said adding nothing would be clear before the autopsy report came. The forest officials found deep piercing wounds on its shoulders and an eye which had literally been gouged out. Its legs were badly axed, sources said. ‘Shikar Utsav’ or hunting festival is an integral part of the tribal culture in the Jangalmahal region that covers the forest areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts and parts of adjoining Jharkhand. During the festival, tribal youths enter forests with traditional weapons and hunt down birds and even small and medium-size game. “It is a shame that the same people in the jangalmahal use smart phone and computer and kill animals in the name of ancestral ways. This must be stopped and they must be dissuaded from doing so,” said a wild life expert. Though the government has been trying to discourage the practice to save wildlife but hunting still takes place things are yet to look up. The bigger irony was the sight of a hundred or more people clicking selfie with the dead tiger literally forcing the forest guards and the police to lift its carcass atop the vehicle on which it had to be ferried to Midnapore, sources said. “Our team has rushed to the spot. I have asked for a report and will explore whether there was any negligence,” said Bengal forest minister Benoy Krishna Burman. The carcass was sent for post mortem examination. Incidentally four persons had earlier been injured by the tiger when they chanced upon it. But it did not kill them and “must have done so in self defense before fleeing the area.” Locals however said the tiger was killed as its presence was harming economic activities. “We could not reach our children to schools, neither we could go to forests for kendu lives nor could we go to panchayat offices or return from wedding parties in the night.” A confirmation of the tiger roaming the area was first received when it was trapped in spy cameras on March 31. “Since then the forest officials had been trying vainly to trap it even as the big cat kept covering two districts of Bankura and West Midnapore often negotiating human habitats but never killing a person. The only persons perished were two forest officials who died of asphyxiation inside a forest van in which they had taken shelter during the night shutting fully the Windows of the vehicle out of fear.“It is a sad day for the wild life lovers that an endangered animal had to lose its life in hunting festivals by backward tribal class.Inspector General, Wild Life S Dasgupta said “investigations will have to be conducted as to why this unfortunate incident happened.” it is an irony that the tiger was killed in a land from where it derives its name Royal Bengal Tiger. We want proper justice in this cruel incidents. The accused persons should be arrested irrespective of political & religion matters and the forest range officers to be suspended. All illegal hunting in the forest to be treated as environmental crime and wild life hunting festival to be banned. .
Petition to Government of India, Parliament Of India, ministry of environment govt of india, Supreme Court of India, People of India
Death Penalty For Animal Poachers in India
Enough is enough. If other countries can announce death penalty for animal poachers why can't India? This is the high time and decision should be taken. Our future depends upon the environment. Poachers are killing animals regularly and our government is not at all concerned. Kindly sign this petition to make a strong law against poachers. To save our children future sign this petition.