A picture of Deshmukh went viral on social media last night, purportedly showing him with a professional shooter having a licensed gun. He was seen in the picture with a friend, Dr Asif Iqbal, flashing a sophisticated gun. The picture was taken on the night of October 31 in Kedarpur area of Deshmukh's Katol constituency, about 40 kms from here, where the animal was shot dead.
Deshmukh, a first-time MLA, told PTI that the state government has granted licenses to farmers whose crops are damaged by blue bulls and wild boars, to shoot them. The decision was taken by the state government on July 22, thereby authorising culling of wild animals to protect the cash crops of cotton, soyabean, beans and groundnut, he said. Deshmukh said that due procedure was followed by him before culling.
He said that he had informed the local authorities of the Forest department, which was mandatory, after receiving complaint from about 15 farmers of large scale damage caused by wild boars and blue bulls. As per the procedure, one has to wait for 24 hours for a response from the Forest department and thereafter, the wild animal can be culled, he said.
The blue bull falls under schedule IV of Wildlife Protection Act. Deshmukh said he did engage a professional shooter and culled the blue bull. There was no violation of any rule, he added.