Forest officer attacked by ‘sand mafia’ in Mohali, critical at PGI
Davinder was admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, (PGIMER) Chandigarh, where he underwent a brain surgery.Updated: Jun 19, 2018 23:17 IST
Hindustan Times, Mohali
A block forest officer, Davinder Singh, 48, and his colleague were seriously injured in an attack by sand mafia at Majri block in Mohali district near Chandigarh on Monday night.
Police said Davinder was among five forest officials attacked when they intercepted a sand-laden tractor-trolley at a checkpoint near Seonk village in Kharar at 10.30pm. Davinder was rushed to Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) at 3.30am where he underwent surgery as he had suffered head injuries. Another official, beldar Karnail Singh, 54, is also being treated for head injuries at the hospital. Forest guard Ravinder Singh and beldars Rajinder Singh, Bhag Chand and Mohinder Singh escaped with minor injuries.
Mohali deputy commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra banned mining in the area after the attack.
SSP Kuldeep Singh Chahal said a case of attempt to murder was registered. Sections 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object) were also slapped against the absconding accused at Mullanpur police station.
ACTED ON TIP-OFF
The forest officials had a tip-off of khair wood and sand being smuggled in the area. They set up two checkpoints on Nada road near Seonk. Six forest officials were deployed at each checkpoint.
There were six attackers in a white Hyundai i20 following the tractor-trolley. “They were armed to kill,” said Ravinder, who was at the second checkpoint near Perch village. “We saw the tractor-trolley coming but it turned towards the checkpoint manned by Davinder and Karnail. As soon as they stopped the vehicle, they were attacked with axes and rods,” he told the police.
“By the time we reached, the accused had left Davinder and Karnail unconscious and bleeding. They emptied the tractor-trolley by dumping the sand on the road and fled towards Seonk after hitting us with rods,” said Rajinder, who was injured in the arm.
“We tried calling the police on 100 but in vain. Finally, we contacted block samiti member Ravinder Singh Seonkh, who rushed Davinder and Karnail to hospital,” Rajinder said.
Davinder was posted in the Nada area for a year from 2009-10. He was attacked after he clamped down on sand mining at that time. The accused, Manga Singh, was convicted for the assault.
Davinder’s younger brother, Dharminder Singh, who is a driver in the forest department, said, “He didn’t talk of any threat. We got a call about the attack on Tuesday morning and were told that he is on life support at PGI.”
Illegal sand mining goes on unchecked in Mohali’s Majri block, including the villages of Perch, Seonk, Jayanti Majri, Mullanpur, Kasauli, Parol, Nagal and Siswan. Sand quarrying is common for construction and raw material for brick-kilns in the area that is seeing large-scale urbanisation.
Smuggling khair wood is also rampant. Khair is a rich source of catechu, the main ingredient of pan masala, gutkha and dye. A tonne of khair fetches Rs 40,000.
The Punjab Land Preservation Act prohibits tree felling and quarrying in the area.
First Published: Jun 19, 2018 15:07 IST