Sand mafia opened fire, tried to mow down and clubbed two forest guards who came in the way of illegal miners carting away sand from a forest near Ahar village in Tikamgarh on Monday night.
The crime has spotlighted the thriving sand mafia in the state, which is picking off law enforcers with cold bloodedness, the latest being a Gwalior forest guard who was crushed under a sand tractor early this month. The mafia has injured and killed several officers in the state, including a young IPS officer who was run over while trying to seize illegally mined stone in 2012.
The Monday night raid puts to test home minister Babulal Guar spirited assertions in assembly that his administration was not helpless before the mafia, which ravages riverbeds to dredge up tonnes of earth and sell it at steep discounts to builders.
CS Parihar, the station officer of Baldevgarh under which Ahrar falls, said forest guard Dhanendra Pratap Khare got a tip-off that sand was being illegally transported near a canal in the forest closeby. He, along with another guard Rajendra Prasad, went there and saw a sand-laden tractor trolley leaving towards Kachipurena village.
The sand mafia fired at the forest guards, who fired in the air.
“They tried to stop the trolley but its driver tried to run over them. When the trolley overturned, they got out and attacked the foresters with batons,” he said.
Parihar said the tractor was driven by Nitesh Kumar, a resident of Ahar village, and there were others with them. Police have registered a case and further investigations are on. Injured guard Dhanendra has been admitted to a district hospital. Despite a National Green Tribunal order three years ago restraining all sand mining activities without environmental clearance, thriving illegal sand mining is killing mighty water bodies like the Ganga and Yamuna.