Rohtas SP Shivdeep Waman Lande had a narrow escape on Sunday morning when members of the local mining mafia fired indiscriminately at him when the officer was leading a joint team of police, mining and forest officials during an operation to demolish illegally operating stone-crusher units in Gopi Bigaha locality under Sasaram Mufassil and Dehri town police stations of Rohtas district.
Members of the mafia used even children and women by putting them in the front and then indulged in heavy stone pelting and firing at least 30 rounds on the SP and his team.
Two police vehicles were damaged in the incident.
The miscreants also assaulted mediapersons and damaged their two bikes when they were covering the big crackdown. Two constables sustained injuries in the stone pelting.
Lande had launched the operation after the district magistrate's letter on April 3, confirming that there was no legal stone-crusher unit in Rohtas district and all the crushers were illegal. Subdivisional magistrate, Sasaram, Nalin Kumar had been deputed as magistrate for the operation. Mining and forest department officials were also called in.
On Sunday morning, at about 8.30am, Lande, armed with policemen from nine police stations besides houseguards and bodyguards of police officers, reached the crushing area at Gopi Bigaha. But the team was surprised to see children and women in the front. Soon, mafia goons began firing indiscriminately and pelting stones at the SP.
Lande then came out of his vehicle and got into a JCB machine and himself demolished the first crusher unit. It was followed by the demolition of more than 100 stone-crusher units during the five-hour-long operation till 1.30pm. Police had cordoned off the entire area and did not allow any mafia goon to enter the circle and disturb the demolition.
Demolishing all 500 plus crushers will be the second step. Police will penetrate deep in the hilly area and ensure complete check on illegal mining, Lande said adding that the attack on the media by the mafia was a sign of their utter desperation.
It is for the first ever time that 100 stone-crusher units had been demolished in a single day.
The police seized three generators and machines from the crusher units. A case for murderous attack on the SP and the police team besides for illegal mining was lodged with Dehri Town police station against 100 mafia members and their over 500 supporters.