Morigaon: Locals and hundreds of student activists on Wednesday protested against the killing of a villager by forest guards for allegedly cutting trees inside the Sonaikuchi Reserve Forest in Morigaon district of Assam.

The protesters under the banners of All Tiwa Students’ Union (ATSU), Karbi Students’ Union (KSU), Karbi Students’ Association (KSA), Tiwa Yuva Chatra Parishad (TYCP), All Tiwa Women’s Association (ATWA), Morigaon District Tribal Sangha and All Assam Tribal Youth League (AATYL) and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) staged a two-hour dharna.

After the demonstration near the Morigaon Deputy Commissioner Court, the protesters sent a memorandum to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, seeking a judicial inquiry into the firing incident and also demanded the arrest of the forest beat officers of Jagiroad and Kuthori for their alleged role in the incident.

One person, identified as Borsing Tiso, was killed on the spot and another, named Rajib Singnar, was injured in firing by forest guards when the duo was allegedly cutting trees inside the forest near Jagiroad in Morigaon district on Tuesday.

The protesters alleged that the firing was indiscriminate and should be treated as murder as the victims were allowed to enter the Sonaikuchi Reserve Forest by forest officers, but later the duo was shot at by some other officials.

The villagers also claimed that the duo went inside the forest after paying bribes to the forest guards early Tuesday morning.

According to a senior police official, the two villagers during the wee hours went to cut trees with axes near the Kuthori forest camp inside the jungle when the incident took place.

The forest guards, after hearing felling of trees, went to the site and fired several rounds, police said.

As the news of firing spread, locals gathered and set ablaze the Kuthori forest beat office.

A senior police officer said that after the arson, security teams rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.

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