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Timber smugglers shoot at plantation watcher in Uttarakhand

Timber smugglers allegedly shot at a forest department plantation watcher in Barhaini range of the Terai central forest division near Ramnagar on Saturday night, police said on Sunday

dehradun Updated: Jun 10, 2018 21:50 IST
Hindustan Times, Haldwani
Plantation watcher Mohammad Jaan was admitted to Sushila Tiwari Hospital, Haldwani for treatment.(HT Photo)

Timber smugglers allegedly shot at a forest department plantation watcher in Barhaini range of the Terai central forest division near Ramnagar on Saturday night, police said on Sunday.

Plantation watcher Mohammad Jaan was admitted to Sushila Tiwari Hospital, Haldwani for treatment. His medical condition is stated to be critical.

Senior Superintendent of Police, Nainital, Janmejay Khanduri said no complaint was lodged so far in connection with the incident. “We will be carrying out arrest when a case is lodged by the forest department,” he told HT.

Khanduri said he had asked forest department staff to take police with them whenever they wish to conduct any raid on illegal quarrying or timber smuggling.

Police said the plantation watcher and other employees of the forest department received an information that timber smugglers had cut a Khair tree and hidden its logs after chopping them.

Forest guard MC Pandey, Raju Pandey and plantation watcher Jaan had gone there for patrolling. The trio hid near wooden logs so that they would be able to nab the smugglers when they came to pick them up.

The smugglers fired at the trio when they tried to nab them and a bullet hit Jaan.

This is not the first incident when the forest staff were targeted by smugglers. Assault on forest department staff is becoming increasingly common. Last year, over a dozen attacks on forest guards by the mining mafia had been reported. Some lost lives and some were left injured.

On March 25 last year, sand smugglers had mowed down beat watcher Pehelwan Singh of Bannakheda US Nagar district when he tried to stop a tractor carrying the sand.

The incident happened near the Kosi river bed in the Jwalavan forest area at Kaladhungi adjoining the Corbett Tiger Reserve. Two other guards accompanying him were tied up by the smugglers and later rescued by police.

In September last year, a forest guard was kidnapped by the quarrying mafia but he escaped from his captors.

Parag Madhukar Dhakate, conservator of forest western division, said there had been attack on forest employees in the past but swift action had been taken against the culprits.

“Arrests were made promptly in the past and we are now asking the officials to take the help of the police during raids so that such situations can be avoided,” he said.

First Published: Jun 10, 2018 21:50 IST