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Under fire, Fadnavis promises probe into tigress killing



Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai, Nov 5 : Under fire from various quarters including Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday announced a probe to ascertain if there were any procedural lapses in the killing of an alleged man-eater tigress, Avni, last Saturday.

“She (Gandhi) has used harsh words, but her sentiments are understandable. All animal lovers’ sentiments are harsh on this incident. It was a very difficult decision, but whether the procedure was correct or not will be inquired into,” Fadnavis told mediapersons.

Fadnavis’ reactions came a day after Gandhi lashed out at Forest Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar for Avni’s killing, while ruling ally Shiv Sena has termed it as an “encounter killing”, Mumbai Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam called it a “barbaric murder’ and Aam Aadmi Party condemned the tigress’ elimination in the Yavatmal forests.

As per a preliminary report of the forest department, Avni was shot dead by a professional shooter, Nawab Asghar Ali Khan, around midnight after she allegedly turned back and attacked the staff attempting to sedate her.

“There is no joy over the killing. The forest department had to take the decision since she had killed at least 13 humans. There are doubts over whether she was first shot and then the tranquiliser injected. This would be probed,” Fadnavis said.

Speaking to the media this evening, Mungantiwar dismissed the uproar over Avni’s killing as arising out of “inadequate information” and said Maharashtra had made maximum efforts towards protecting forests and tiger conservation.

“The same shooter (Khan) had killed a man-eater tiger in Pilibhit of Uttar Pradesh in 2009. The criticism is surprising and demoralizing for the forest staff, and might prove counter-productive for the ongoing efforts,” the minister said, defending himself against Gandhi’s sharp barbs on Sunday.

He said the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) guidelines were followed.

Besides, Mungantiwar said orders were challenged both in the Bombay High Court and Supreme Court and were upheld and the decision was taken only after the terror-struck people of the region stopped going out to fields fearing attacks by the tigress.

On Gandhi’s questions over the selection of the controversial shooter Khan, Mungantiwar pointed out that he was on the panel of several states and had killed a man-eater tiger in her (Maneka Gandhi’s) Pilibhit constituency nine years ago.

Gandhi had virtually demanded the sack for Mungantiwar in a series of tweets yesterday: “It is nothing but a straight case of crime. Despite requests from his own forest department and people, Sudhir Mugantiwar gave orders for the killing. This is the third tiger being killed on his directions.”

“I am shocked that such a person is continuing to hold a ministerial position. Every time he has used the Hyderabad shooter, Shafat Ali Khan and this time his son has also appeared on the scene illegally to kill the tigress. His son was not authorised to kill. This is patently illegal.”

Mungantiwar also countered this by saying that instead of complaining to the CM, the Union Minister (Gandhi) could order a high-level probe by a Supreme Court judge or a committee of sitting apex court judges to investigate the matter.

In an edit in the party mouthpieces ‘Saamana’ and ‘Dopahar Ka Saamana’ today, the ruling ally Shiv Sena slammed the state government and begged for Avni’s “forgiveness”.


Langar preparations under way to serve thousands of protesting farmers

Other special committees are serving food to thousands of union members



Langar Farmer Protest

Chandigarh, November 27 :A large group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana on Friday continued their ‘Delhi Chalo’ march against the Centre’s farm laws from a road toll plaza at Panipat, about 100 km from the national capital.

Amid the protest by the farmers, langar preparations by special committees are under way to feed scores of farmers.

Langar preparations under way to serve thousands of protesting farmers. Tribune Photo

Other special committees are serving food to thousands of union members.

Farmers’ unions have got thousands of litres of milk in the morning from Punjab and Haryana villages.

Langar preparations under way to serve thousands of protesting farmers. Tribune Photo

“We have enough ration while more stock is lying in villages. Thousands of more members are reaching here within an hour,” said Harjeet Bhutal, a youngster.

Another leader, Rajpal Mangwal, said they had made all arrangements to break all barricades of Haryana police.

Farmers from Muktsar are also preparing food at outer bypass in Bahadurgarh town.

Farmers from Muktsar prepare food at outer bypass in Bahadurgarh town. Tribune Photo

Over 50 tractor trollies from Punjab are parked along Bahadurgarh bypass. They are waiting for other farmers to march to Delhi.

Farmers from Ropar district prepare langer on NH-44 in Sonepat. Tribune Photo

Farmers from Ropar district in Haryana have also made preparations for langer on NH-44 in Rai of Sonepat district.

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Farmers reach near Delhi borders; face water cannons, tear gas

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Haryana) leader Gurnam Singh welcomed Punjab farmers to Haryana, urged them to maintain peace



Farmers to Delhi
© -/AFP via Getty Images Police block a road and use a water cannon to disperse farmers marching to New Delhi to protest against the central government's recent agricultural reforms, on the outskirts of Ambala on November 26, 2020.

New Delhi/Chandigarh, November 27: A large group of farmers from Punjab and Haryana on Friday continued their “Delhi Chalo” march against the Centre’s farm laws from a road toll plaza at Panipat, about 100 km from the national capital.

The Delhi Police has enhanced deployment of tear gas, security personnel, stationed sand-laden trucks and water cannons and used barbed wire for fencing at the Singhu border (Delhi-Haryana border) to prevent the protesters from entering the city. Police were also deployed on Delhi’s border with Faridabad and Gurgaon.

Hundreds of farmers staged a dharna at Tikri border in Delhi and decided to wait for other farmers before entering the national capital.

The farmers accused the Delhi police of detaining protesters and deflating the tyres of their tractors.

A major traffic jam occurred at the Gurugram-Delhi border due to the barricade’s put up by the Delhi police. Tribune photo/Chandan Sukh

A senior Delhi Police official said the forces have used tear gas shells to disperse a group of farmers who had reached the Singhu border point which connects Delhi with Haryana.

The officer said the forces are using tear gas to disperse protesting farmers, but at the same time they are also “informing them that in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, any kind of rally and dharna is not allowed in the national capital.”

“The permission has been denied for any kind of dharna or protest in view of surge in COVID-19 infections in the city and whoever tries to enter Delhi the police is empowered to take legal action against such person,” said another police officer.

Security has been strengthened at the border and sand-laden trucks and water cannons have been stationed, the officer said, adding that barbed wire is also being used for fencing at the Singhu border to prevent the protesters from entering the national capital.

Punjab farmers, representing over 30 farm bodies, have announced they will go to Delhi through several routes—Lalru, Shambhu, Patiala-Pehowa, Patran-Khanauri, Moonak-Tohana, Ratia-Fatehabad and Talwandi-Sirsa. Tensions appeared to have been escalating at all the border points.

Farmers have assembled near the borders in tractor-trolleys laden with rations and essentials for their proposed Delhi march. Authorities in Haryana have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in several parts of the state to prevent assembly of the protesters.

However, farmers’ bodies have announced that they will hold a dharna wherever they are stopped from moving towards the national capital.

Punjab farmers are demanding the repeal of the new farm laws, which, they said, should be replaced with another set of legislations framed after wider consultation with the stakeholders. They also want a guarantee on the minimum support prices (MSP).

Despite the security arrangements, two groups of farmers reached near the Singhu and Tikri borders as Delhi Police fired tear gas shells at them to prevent them from entering the city. Police used water cannon and tear gas on farmers near Karahans village on NH-44, but the farmers managed to break the first barricade. 

Preparations of langar has been going on by special committees of BKU Ugrahan in Sangrur. Tribune photo.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (Haryana) leader Gurnam Singh welcomed farmers from Punjab to Haryana and urged them to maintain peace and not attack the police. He asked them to follow the lead of farmers from Haryana.

In Jhajjar, Delhi police used tear gas shells and water cannon to stop the farmers at the Tikri border, adjacent to Bahadurgarh.

Jhajjar: Farmers from Muktsar (Punjab) prepare food at the outer bypass in Bahadurgarh. Tribune photo

In Karnal, farmers from Punjab continued to march towards Delhi. They were marching on tractors and SUVs on the National Highway-44 and the Kaithal-Karnal roads. Police have erected fresh barricades near Karan Lake to stop the farmers. Farmers staged a dharna when Taraori police tried to stop them from moving ahead. However, after a brief faceoff, farmers were allowed to go ahead. The Taraori police were trying to divert them.

Karnal police have registered two FIRs -one against BKU president Gurnam Singh Charuni and another against unknown farmers of Punjab for breaking barricades in Karnal on Thursday.

BKU Ugrahan members have started preparations to start march for New Delhi from Khanauri border of Punjab-Haryana.

In Sangrur, preparations have started at the Khanauri border to start the march for New Delhi. BKU Ugraha members, in around 4,000 vehicles, will start the march in around two hours.

Farmers entered Haryana from Dabwali border. Tribune photo.

Farmers managed to enter Haryana by breaking the barricading at Dabwali border. The youth gathered near the barricading chanted ‘jo bole so nihal’ slogans. Farmers removed big cement pillar stones kept at tge Punjab side, removed the first layer of obstruction kept by police to keep farmers away from entering Haryana. Youths are carrying sticks in their hands with them at Dabwali border. A massive jam occurred at the Dabwali border as more than 6-7 km long convoy of trucks and tractors lined up as part of the march.—with PTI

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Mehbooba Mufti claims she’s illegally detained yet again

Jammu and Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti claims she’s illegally detained yet again, not allowed to visit party leader



Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti on Friday alleged that she has been “illegally detained yet again” and denied permission to visit a party leader in Pulwama district.

She also alleged that her daughter Iltija has been placed under house arrest.

“I’ve been illegally detained yet again. Since 2 days, J&K administration has refused to allow me to visit party leader
Waheed Ur Rehman’s family in Pulwama. He was arrested on baseless charges. Even my daughter placed under house arrest (sic),” Mufti said in a tweet.

“Their cruelty knows no bounds. Waheed was arrested on baseless charges & I am not allowed to even console his family. Even my daughter Iltija has been placed under house arrest because she also wanted to visit Waheed’s family (sic),” she added.

The former chief minister will hold a press conference at 3 pm today on various issues. Mehbooba was released on October 14 after being in detention from August 5 last year following the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had on Wednesday arrested, Waheed Parra, the youth wing president of PDP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, in connection with a terror case.

Parra, who recently filed his nomination for the District Development Council (DDC) elections from Pulwama in South Kashmir, was being questioned at the NIA headquarters here since Monday for his alleged involvement with the Hizbul Mujahideen terror group.

“Today NIA arrested Waheed Ur Rehman Parra, the youth wing leader of People’s Democratic Party, in connection with the Naveed Babu-Davinder Singh case for supporting Hizbul Mujahideen in conspiracy with the other accused persons,” NIA’s spokesperson had said.

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