Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday came down heavily on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on the illegal killing of wild animals, days after a Royal Bengal Tiger that had strayed into West Bengal’s Lalgarh forest, was allegedly killed by hunters. She said West Bengal is the only state in India where illegal killing of animals is ‘allowed and encouraged’. Gandhi was referring to the hunting festival known as ‘Shikar Utsav’ which is organised in Ajodhya Hill area of West Bengal, claiming thousands of animals are killed every year.
Appealing for immediately banning of the festival, Gandhi said the festival is also used as a cover by ‘so-called tribals’, smugglers and poachers and that the state forest department is doing nothing about it. However, Mamata Banerjee didn’t take it lying down.
Taking a dig at Union Minister, Mamata Banerjee called Maneka Gandhi ‘anti-Adivasi’ she said her comments wee ‘unwarranted’. Asking Maneka Gandhi to apologise to the Adivasi community, Mamata attacked the Central government and said, ‘With people like them in the Cabinet, the government as well as the nation is in a precarious situation. I completely condemn the comment made by her.’
“Did she use a telescope? A tiger died and curious people came to see it. Even when people die, relatives and others come to pay their respects. How can she compare this with Shikar Utsav? She cannot ridicule a tradition of the Adivasi community,” the Chief Minister said.