Attacked while on duty, Mahendragarh forest guards moved to Gurugram civil hospital for treatmentUpdated: Sep 17, 2020 00:02 IST
Two guards with the Mahendragarh district forest department were injured after they were attacked by suspected encroachers in the protected Aravalli forest in Kalba village on Wednesday.
First referred to a government hospital in Rewari, the guards were later brought to Gurugram’s Civil Hospital in sector-10 after their injuries were diagnosed to be serious, forest officials said.
Officials identified the victims as range forest officer Rajneesh Kumar and deputy ranger Chandra Gupta.
Vipin Kumar Singh, Mahendragarh district forest officer and an eyewitness to the clash, said, “I saw my colleagues being beaten up with sticks and strangled with towels. The intention was very much to injure them. They have suffered fractures and will require stitches on their heads and mouths.”
Kumar said that they had come across the group while on a routine patrol of the Nangla-Chaudhry forest range, which includes several Aravalli villages, including Kalba.
“A group of people were using an earthmoving machine to uproot trees and quarry rocks on protected forest land. When my colleagues warned them of punitive action if they did not stop immediately, they were surrounded and thrashed. I was some distance away in another car, and was able to call for additional staff, who broke up the altercation,” Singh said, adding that an FIR against the suspects, allegedly resident of Kalba village, had been filed with the Mahendragarh police.
A similar incident had occurred in June, when a range forest officer in Faridabad was beaten by the land mafia in Surajkund, for taking pictures of illegal constructions coming up on protected forest land in the Aravallis. Citing this incident, Alok Verma, principal chief conservator of forests, Haryana, said, “Such blatant disregard for the law is unacceptable. The state must do more to protect its forest officers who are putting themselves in harm’s way, especially when encroachers seem to have no qualms about assaulting men who are on duty.”