Cops ‘thrash’ Forest officials

‘Bhukki’ being smuggled in fruit boxes seized at Lakhanpur from a truck on Wednesday.
‘Bhukki’ being smuggled in fruit boxes seized at Lakhanpur from a truck on Wednesday.

Excelsior Correspondent
KATHUA, Oct 3: In a bizarre incident, a truck which was subjected to checking by Forest officials at Lakhanpur Check Post was forcibly snatched by police after allegedly thrashing some Forest officials on duty.
According to reports, a truck bearing registration number JK13 A 9512, which was on way from Kashmir to Punjab carrying fruit when subjected to checking at Forest Check Post yesterday was forcibly snatched by the Lakhanpur Police after thrashing the Forest officials.
However, when the Forest officials raised a hue and cry and protested against the police action, the Police returned the truck to Forest Check Post. The vehicle was subjected to joint checking today by forest officials and police and 50 boxes of ‘bhukki’ (poppy straw) were recovered from it which were concealed in fruit boxes.
The sources in Forest Department, however, said that the truck along with the seized material will be handed over to Police tomorrow for registration of FIR. The driver of the truck is also in the custody of police for further investigation.
Taking serious exception to police action, the Non Gazetted Forest Officers Association has demanded action against erring police officers who thrashed the Forest staff. The Association in a written complaint to Principal Chief Conservator of Forests alleged that police thrashed their employees on duty and inflicted injuries on them besides tearing their uniforms.
In the complaint duly signed by Association president, Nazir Ahmed Mir it was alleged that the Forest Staff posted at Check Post Lakhanpur stopped a vehicle loaded with fruit boxes during routine checking in order to ascertain whether there was forest produce in the loading consignment and vehicle in question was stopped near Forest Check Post, Lakhanpur.
The Association in its complaint alleged that in the meantime SHO Lakhanpur along with police party reached the spot and snatched the vehicle forcibly from the forest staff and also manhandled the forest officials with the result the forest officials were injured and their uniforms were also torn.
The Association said one of the Forest guards Tariq Hussian has sustained serious injuries in his ear and has been shifted to District Hospital Kathua for treatment.
The Association has urged the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to take up the issue with Director General of Police and IGP, Jammu for registration of FIR against SHO concerned and his accomplices for their “lawlessness and arrogance” in police uniforms, besides mercilessly beating the forest officials and creating obstruction in Government duty.
Mir while talking to Excelsior said that the Forest officials will go on strike tomorrow also in protest against the police action.
However, a senior Forest Officer said that the truck will be handed over to police tomorrow for registration of FIR and further investigation.
But the police sources contradicted the claims of Forest officials and accused them of allowing the truck to cross the check post despite being signaled by concerned Police Station to stop it for checking. Sources said that one forest official who has been allegedly responsible for allowing the smuggled material to cross the Check Post at Lakhanpur earlier also and against whom complaints are with police acted arrogantly in this case too and he did not stop the vehicle.
Police sources said that after the investigation in the matter the police will lodge the FIR against the Forest official and issue arrest warrants against him.