Patna: The JD(U) on Thursday criticised Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi for creating "unnecessary controversy" on the killing of 'nilgai' (blue bills) and supported the move for culling in the interest of Bihar farmers.
"Maneka Gandhi is creating an unnecessary controversy over the issue of culling of nilgai...If she is so much concerned about nilgais, then I would request her to come to Mokama taal area and we will give her warm send off with nilgais which she can keep at her bungalow or in zoo," JD(U) spokesman and MLC Neeraj Kumar told PTI.
Gandhi, who is an animal rights activist, should be rather much more concerned about her ministry (Women and Child Development), Kumar said.
In December 2015, the Central government put 'nilgai' in schedule 5 from schedule 3 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, thus allowing the killing of nilgai which destroys crops in large volume.
This is in the interest of the state's farmers, especially areas like Mokama taal, where one crop is harvested in a year, JD(U) leader said while questioning Gandhi for keeping silent since 1 December 2015.
Culling of nilgai is even allowed in BJP ruled states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra, he said and asked why the minister does not raise question on the killing of nilgai in these two states.
On Gandhi's assertion that nilgai (blue bull) belongs to 'Deer' species, JD(U) leader said that nilgai belongs to 'antelope' species.
He said that a PIL had also been filed in the Patna High Court by farmers seeking culling of nilgais besides, farmers of West Champaran had launched an agitation for allowing shooting of the animals.
Even Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who hails from East Champaran, wants to take credit for allowing to kill nilgai, claimed JD(U) spokesman who termed the incident as lack of cohesion among Union Ministers.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi had expressed her displeasure over the killing of nilgai in Bihar and said it has happened when neither the village head nor the farmers have called for their killing.
Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment and Forests, on his part has defended animal culling, insisting it is done on the request of states to protect crops.