In these columns, we have been repeatedly warning the Government of the rising crescendo of timber mafia and their criminal activities of looting the State of its natural wealth for a paltry sum. Recent incidents in this connection have vindicated our warning. The recent criminal attack on senior functionary of the Forest Department and the police possess that had moved in to control the situation created by the forest mafia in Chatta area is eye-opener for the higher authorities of the State like the Police, Forest and Home Departments. The attempt of the mafia members of attacking a senior officer who was performing his normal duty is not only condemnable but criminal. An FIR has already been filed and we would implore upon concerned authorities to deal with this case with exceptional firmness. Criminal acts like these should never go unpunished. Although we appreciate that the police maintained restraint in face of grave threat to their lives as the mafia men were pelting stones and could also be carrying weapons. But this restraint is not justifiable. The Police and the Forest Protection Force should be prepared to meet such events with force and not just pusillanimity. The fact that the Police and Forest Protection Force would use power is a deterrent to many other who become voluntary accomplices in such crimes. Police and Home Departments should make a resolve to root out the menace of land mafia and restore forest or State lands to their real owners.