Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Assault on foresters: Talala MLA, 10 others still at large


Assault on foresters: Talala MLA, 10 others still at large

Indian Express By Sibte Hussain Bukhari

Junagadh, June 10 Even a week after senior forest officials were assaulted on duty, most of the accused, including Bhaga Barad, Congress MLA from Talala, are still at large. They have reportedly gone underground to avoid arrest.

Bhaga, brother of Junagadh MP Jashu Barad, along with his 14 associates is accused of attacking Assistant Conservator of Forest (Sasan Gir) Shashi Kumar and Range Forest Officer B K Paramar.

According to an FIR lodged by Paramar with the Talala police, the accused on June 4 ransacked the forest office, snatched officers’ revolver, and injured them seriously. The police registered the complaint under sections 395 (robbery), 332, 333 (Assaulting official on-duty), and 120 (B) (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Fifteen people were named in the FIR, of which four have been arrested. They are in the police custody for the last five days, sources said. The four arrested include Devayat Wadher, Ramshi Vadher, Uka Ahir and Janmohmed Bloch. Uka and Janmohmed are sarpanchs of Pipalawa and Sasan villages respectively.

According to the police, the arrested revealed during interrogation that they took the officers’ weapons with them, and dumped it near the premises of the Sasan-Gir forest headquarter. The guns were recovered by the police the next day. The police had also recovered the vehicles in which the accused came to Sasan, along with the clothes they were wearing at the time of the incident, sources said.

“Longstanding tussle between the forest officials and the accused is the likely reason behind the attack,” said a police official on condition of anonymity. He added: “The officials are still under medical observation. Once they are discharged, an identification parade will be held before them in the presence of the executive magistrate.”

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