Police blame tribal attack for Chhindwara firing deaths

  • HT Correspondents, Hindustan Times, Bhopal/Chhindwara
  • Updated: Sep 23, 2014 23:07 IST

A day after two people including a tribal woman were shot dead by police as they were trying to rescue a forest official from a mob led by teakwood smugglers, police on Tuesday implicated the tribals for inciting the violence.

The two tribals were killed after personnel of the Special Task Force (STF) opened fire to rescue the forest official when the villagers tried to set him ablaze in Chhindwara district on Monday.

Police on Tuesday blaming the tribals of inciting violence, registered an attempted to murder case under sector 307 of the Indian penal code against the villagers.

Police had earlier registered a murder case under section 302 of the IPC against 'an unidentified forest official' in connection with the firing.

Read: Two killed in police firing in Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh

The violent incident took place in the Gulsi village some 50km from the district headquarters, police said.

A team of forest officials had gone to Gulsi village to seize illegally felled teakwood, when villagers started pelting stone on the team, said Chhindwara superintendent of police Mithilesh Shukla.

The villagers had caught hold of a forest official and tried to set him ablaze after dousing him with kerosene, when the STF personnel accompanying the forest team were asked officials to open fire into the air to control the situation, and save the official, said Shukla.

The SP said it was not clear whether the two tribals had died from police bullet or bullets fired by the tribals.

Villagers, however, denied having fired at anyone saying that it was a habit of the forest officials to target them.

Forest officials conducted house-to-house searches without warrants, which led to the clashes, said villagers.

Police said villagers involved in illegal teakwood smuggling often attack forest officials during raids.

"An inquiry has been ordered in the case," said deputy inspector general of police Umesh Joga.

The district collector has ordered a magisterial inquiry.

Terming the killing of the two tribal as unfortunate, chief conservator of forest (CCF) Chitranjan Tyagi said the forest department was trying to find ways to improve the economic condition of the tribals.

"The conflict is common between residents and forest guards. I think economic condition of villagers is responsible for the incident as their livelihood depend on illegal felling of trees," said Tyagi.

Meanwhile, the state Congress leaders, condemning the killings have demanded a high-level inquiry into to the firing.

"It is a very serious incident and a judicial probe should be conducted to ascertain the circumstances that led to the incident," said state Congress vice-president Manak Agarwal.

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