Suspected woodcutter shot dead in Khalingduar Reserve Forest
The forest officials of Nonai Forest Range shot two suspected woodcutters deep inside Khalingduar Reserve Forest at about 1 pm on Wednesday.
TANGLA: The forest officials of Nonai Forest Range shot two suspected woodcutters deep inside Khalingduar Reserve Forest at about 1 pm on Wednesday. According to reports, a routine patrolling team of forest officials witnessed a group of persons suspected to be woodcutters in the forest and two rounds were fired in the air by the forest officials following which the woodcutters fled.
Reportedly, Ram Singh Gorh (40), a permanent employee of Nonaipara TE succumbed to bullet injuries in the incident while Sukra Bakhla (46) sustained severe bullet injury in his buttock and is referred to GMCH in Guwahati on Thursday.
"We have recovered an axe, timber wood and two beaks of hornbill from the spot," said Ranger of Nonai Forest Range, Netra Kamal Saikia . He further ascertained that following the incident, Udalguri, Additional Superintendent of Police, Jyoti Prasad Pegu along with police team from Paneri Police Station and SSB troops visited the spot and recovered a body of woodcutter who was declared brought dead by the attending doctor of Tangla Community Health Centre.
Udalguri, Additional Superintendent of Police, Jyoti Prasad Pegu said, "There was a firing incident where the forest patrolling party fired rounds and a suspected woodcutter was found dead inside Khalingduar Reserve Forest in Nonaikhuti area. We are awaiting for post-mortem report to ascertain the cause of the death of the person" He added. The incident have sparked strong resentment among the villagers of the area, as tea garden workers and villagers often collect wood from the forest . "The forest officials along with police recovered the dead body from the forest without any intimation to village head or VDP Secretary," president of Udalguri chapter of Assam Tea Tribes Students Association (ATTSA) , Deep Tanti said.
He further claimed that the other injured person, Sukra Bagla was lying in a pool of blood the whole night in the forest and only after the intervention of local students' body and VCDC members police and forest officials rescued the injured from the forest on Friday morning. Reportedly, another villager Bijoy Koya (25) who was part of the group of villagers collecting wood is reportedly untraceable till the filing of this report in the evening. The conscious citizens and student organizations have demanded a high level judicial investigation into the incident and sought the intervention of Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to unearth the facts and circumstances of the incident.
Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha Vice-President, Santiuse Kujur strongly condemning the killing of the unarmed villager demanded initiation of legal proceedings against the forest officials involved in the incident. "They were poor tea garden workers collecting firewood and the forest officials should have detained them for questioning however firing on the unarmed villager is unwarranted, " he said.