4 timber smugglers nabbed in Bhaderwah, 1 booked under PSA

Excelsior Correspondent

DODA, June 25: In a major crackdown against timber mafia, four timber smugglers were arrested and one of them was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in Bhaderwah Forest Division.
Goving information in this regard, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Bhaderwah Chander Shekhar said that the timber smuggler Masood Ahmed son Ghulam Hussain of village Batara in Phigsoo tehsil, was involved in timber smuggling since 2012 and several cases were registered against him.
“He was several times summoned to Divisional Forest Office Bhaderwah and Range office Thathri but he never turned up and instead used to intimidate the forest officials,” the DFO said, adding, “His dossier was prepared and sent to Deputy Commissioner Doda on 22nd June for taking a final call. On June 24, the DC passed orders for his detention under the stringent J&K Public Safety Act 1978.”
Chander Shekhar said that some other persons from Tanta area of Chirala range and Bhalessa Range of Forest Division were also indulging in timber and MFP smuggling. We have prepared half a dozen dossiers and strict action against them too is on the cards.
“PSA was introduced in J&K in 1978, primarily to tame timber smugglers but it took 44 years to book any one under this law from Jammu Province,” said DFO adding, “This will create a lot of deterrence and surely go a long way in tightening the noose against habitual offenders.” He said Masood was subsequently arrested and lodged in District Jail Bhaderwah.
Meanwhile, in another operation 3 timber smugglers along with banned mechanical cutters were arrested from Thathri early morning by a team headed by Range Officer Chirala Shaifar Iqbal. The arrested smugglers have been identified as Babar Ali, Khursheed Ahmed and Akhter Hussain, all residents of Kahara tehsil.
“After the news of crackdown, smugglers are trying to sneak in to neighbouring Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh to evade the arrest but we have activated our intelligence and arrested three of them from Thathri, while we have received inputs that a group of 12 smugglers is on its way towards Chamba via Padri Dhar but they will be nabbed soon,” DFO said.
Earlier, District Magistrate Doda Vikas Sharma had imposed a ban under Section 144 CrPC on sale, purchase and use of portable chain saw (Mechanical Cutters) in District Doda on 05-05-2022 under order number 215 -2/DM/Doda.
“After the ban, 45 mechanical cutters have been seized and two dozen offenders booked,” informed DFO.