Published On: Sun, Mar 26th, 2017

Forest guard killed near Corbett by mining mafia

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Members of a mining mafia gang active on the river banks near Corbett ran over a forest department beat watcher with a tractor when he tried to oppose them. The incident took place near the Kosi riverbed in the Jwalavan forest area at Kaladhungi, adjoining the Corbett Tiger Reserve, on Friday night. Two other beat guards accompanying Singh were tied up by the goons. They were later freed by police.

CM Trivendra Singh Rawat instructed police to nab the culprits within 24 hours, following which they announced the capture of the main accused, Jaswant Singh, on Saturday evening. Rawat also spoke to the family of the deceased and announ ced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh. Following the CM’s intervention, police officials swung into action and Janmejay Khanduri, senior superintendent of police, Nainital district, told TOI, “We have arrested the prime culprit, Jaswant Singh, who was driving the tractor. The vehicle has also been recovered from Bajpur town in Udham Singh Nagar. We are searching for three other people who were also involved. They will be nabbed soon.”

Apart from the killing of the beat watcher, two more incidents of assault on forest department staff took place in Udham Singh Nagar district on the same day . The first was in Kulwant Nagar where a team of the forest department was attacked when they tried to seize illegal timber. Police said that the timber smugglers attacked the forest staff with iron rods and canes, leaving many injured. The attackers also snatched the rifle of an employee which was later found, but the magazine and bullets were missing.

The other incident happened at Barhaini range of Bajpur where a forest team was shot at by a group involved in illegal mining.
However, the forest team managed to seize three tractor trolleys laden with illegally mined material from the gang.

The border area between Udham Singh Nagar and Nainital has been notorious for illegal mining activity which is usually centred near towns like Ramnagar and Bajpur. Assault on forest department officials and police are also becoming increasingly common.In April 2015, a trainee IFS officer, Kalyani Bisht, was attacked by a group of around 50 people in the Bailpadao area of Ramnagar while she was conducting a raid near the Dabka riverbed where illegal mining was going on. Two people were arrested in the case.

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