Agartala: Three forest officials sustained injuries, one of them seriously, after a gang of timber smugglers attacked the on-duty officials.

Sources said, based on a tip off, the three forest guards from Teliamura forest range under Khowai district reached deep forest areas of Mungiakami area late on Saturday .

As soon as the troopers entered deeper into the forest, the smugglers, armed with clubs and other blunt weapons, attacked them, a senior forest official of the district said.

“The forest department keeps raiding secret hideouts of timber smugglers located in deep forests. Sometimes we succeed in busting them, while on some occasions the smugglers manage to escape. On Saturday, an input was received by our department that a group of wood smugglers are felling mature trees inside the forest. Accordingly, a team of three troopers were dispatched to investigate the matter,” the official said.

“A group of around 50 to 60 timber smugglers were inside the forest. When they reached the spot and warned the smugglers of dire consequences, the smugglers retaliated and overpowered them. They were beaten up ruthlessly and all of them were brought to hospital in serious condition,” the official added.

Among the injured persons, Shankar Goala,58, received grave injuries on his head. “He was bleeding profusely. He received seven stitches on his head and, after primary treatment, the doctors referred him to GBP Hospital Agartala,” the official added.

On receiving information about the attack, a bigger contingent of forest officials reached the spot and rescued them. Besides, the wood carrying van and a motorcycle belonging to one of the smugglers were seized.

On being contacted, SDPO Teliamura Sonacharan Jamatia said, “We have received the information but the forest department has not filed an FIR in connection with the case so far. We have spoken to the senior officials of the forest department. As soon as the FIR is lodged, we shall start the investigation.”  

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