JAMMU, Jan 22: Timber smugglers attacked the Forest team with heavy stoning and rammed a truck into the Bolero vehicle of DFO Jammu Arshdeep Singh with an attempt to murder officials on duty in Chatta area of Bahu Range of Jammu last night.
Reports said that Forest Control Room Jammu received inputs that timber mafia and those engaged in providing fire wood to the brick kilns and charcoal Bhatthis around Jammu from Bahu Range were active for the last few weeks and they were engaged in illegal activities in upper reaches of Chatta adjoining Sunjuwan.
On receiving information, Range Officer Bahu, Vinod Kumar along with some staff rushed there in private vehicle. It was around 9 pm and when the Forest team challenged them, they resorted to heavy stone pelting on them. The Forest team showed some resistance but they could not stand there for long and moved back along with partially damaged vehicle and informed DFO Jammu.
It was found that there was truck and a tipper engaged in loading of fire wood, recently felled from the adjoining Forest. The DFO, Arshdeep Singh along with some staff rushed to the site and they laid a nakka at some distance from the site and kept waiting in the darkness.
When the truck loaded fire wood was coming down on the kucha road from the hill side, the smugglers noticed the official vehicle and rammed truck into the Bolero vehicle of the DFO. The DFO and other staff sensing trouble jumped out and had narrow escape. The DFO and three others sustained minor injuries.
Then they contacted SDM concerned and Police Station Chhanni Himmat. Reinforcement was rushed to site at around 10.30 pm. The smugglers along with truck moved into the fields in different directions. Their truck got trapped into a pit and they escaped to nearby area.
When the police and more Forest officials arrived there in a truck, the smugglers supported by some locals from area resorted to heavy stone pelting on the team. The smugglers did not allow the cops and Forest team to move ahead and arrest any of them.
The clash continued for some time. The police maintained restrain and did not fire on violent smugglers. The truck had dragged the Bolero vehicle for some distance and then threw it into a gorge. Four Forest officials have received injuries in the incident. It continued for several hours and later police and forest team returned.
Chief Conservator of Forests, Jammu, Roshan Jaggi said that smugglers tried to murder the Forest officials. It was criminal act on their part. An FIR has been lodged with the Chhanni Himmat Police Station. He also said that Department received information and some field staff rushed there.
He said Forest Protection Force men have guns but in haste the Forest team could not contact them. Jaggi said Forest department will initiate confiscation proceedings with regard to vehicles and FIR with one known and other unknown persons has been lodged.
SHO Chhanni Himmat, Inspector Sajjad Haider said that they received information at round 10 pm last night about attack on Forest team at Chatta and rushed there. He said smugglers resorted to heavy stone pelting on the teams. He said one prime accused Yousuf hailing from Chatta has been identified but no arrest could be made so far. He also said that truck used by smugglers JK02L/1287 and tipper JK02AD/1674 have been seized and a case FIR NO. 7/ 2017 has been registered in this connection. He said that police was conducting raids to nab accused as some more have been identified.