We were in your home, Avni. I’m so sorry

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - YOURSPACE - San­tosh Aa­ga­vane

I con­demn the prac­tice of forests and wildlife be­ing sac­ri­ficed in the name of de­vel­op­ment. As Ma­hatma Gandhi said, the greatness of a na­tion can be judged by how its an­i­mals are treated. Gov­ern­ments across po­lit­i­cal lines, across In­dia, should be work­ing hard to pro­tect na­ture, which is our only true as­set — whether an­i­mals, birds or land.

This was truly a sad day for In­dia. De­spite all the ac­tivists’ ef­forts, Avni was shot dead. This could well mark a turn­ing point in our on­go­ing bat­tle over how to deal with man-an­i­mal con­flict.

My heart goes out to the fam­i­lies of the be­reaved; but surely there had to have been a bet­ter op­tion than shooting a beau­ti­ful an­i­mal, a sym­bol of na­tional pride, a mother of two.

It was we hu­mans who en­croached on your nat­u­ral home, Avni. I’m so sorry.

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