ASI crushed to death by sand mafia, 2 held | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ASI crushed to death by sand mafia, 2 held

By, Bhopal
May 06, 2024 05:00 AM IST

ASI crushed to death by sand-laden tractor in Madhya Pradesh. Driver arrested. Controversy over postmortem handling. Sand mining poses environmental threats globally.

An assistant sub-inspector (ASI) was crushed to death by a tractor-trolley carrying illegally mined sand in Shahdol, Madhya Pradesh, on Saturday night, police said on Sunday.

Police personnel at the site of the incident in Shahdol on Sunday. (PTI)
Police personnel at the site of the incident in Shahdol on Sunday. (PTI)

ASI Mahendra Bagri, posted at the Beohari police station, was attempting to stop the tractor-trolley along with two colleagues, ASI Gaya Prasad Kannauje and constable Sanjay Dubey, while on their way to arrest an accused in a criminal case near Khadhauli village.

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Despite Bagri signalling the driver to stop, the vehicle ran over him and continued forward. The driver, Raj Rawat, then jumped off the tractor, causing it to go out of control and fall off a bridge.

Police have arrested Rawat and the vehicle owner’s son, Ashutosh Singh, both residents of Jamodi village.

ALSO READ | Sand mafia attacked my team, police failed to act promptly: MP forest officer

The owner, Surendra Singh, who was arrested in August 2023 for illegal sand mining, is currently absconding. Authorities have announced a reward of 30,000 for information leading to his arrest.

A case has been registered against the accused under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Mines Act. Superintendent of police Kumar Prateek and additional director general of police, Shahdol zone, DC Sagar, confirmed the incident and the ongoing investigation.

The incident has also sparked controversy due to the alleged improper handling of Bagri’s body during the postmortem at Byahari Civil Hospital.

A policeman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the ASI’s body was placed on the floor during the procedure, showing disrespect for his sacrifice while on duty. Byahari SDM Narendra Singh Dhurve stated that the matter is being investigated.

This incident follows a similar case in December last year, where a revenue department official (Patwari) was killed by illegal sand miners in the Shahdol district.

ALSO READ | Why sand mining in Chambal is not right

The world uses up 50 billion tonnes of sand every year, a 2022 UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found, enough to build a wall 27 metres wide and 27 metres high around planet Earth.

Sand is the second most used resource worldwide after water, and in India, it is mined illegally in several states. Between 2019 and 2022, according to a report by Down to Earth, some 39 people including police and activists were killed for exposing or acting against illegal mining operations across the country.

Experts have warned that extracting sand where it plays an active role, such as rivers, and coastal or marine ecosystems, can lead to erosion, salination of aquifers, loss of protection against storm surges and impact on biodiversity, which pose a threat to livelihoods through, among other things, water supply, food production, fisheries, or to the tourism industry.

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