Guwahati, Aug. 31: Assam forest minister Rakibul Hussain today filed a criminal defamation case against the BJP’s Northeast organisation secretary P. Chandra Sekhar who had accused him of allegedly allowing the encroachment of forestland by illegal Bangladeshis in Kaziranga National Park.
Hussain told The Telegraph that he had filed the criminal defamation case (No 2459/12/under Section 500/34 of the IPC) in the court of the additional chief judicial magistrate at Nagaon.
“The honourable additional CJM has ordered his personal appearance on September 29. (I) had no option but to move court as the BJP leader’s baseless allegations had tarnished my image,” Hussain said from Nagaon.
The three-term Congress MLA even missed the meeting of Prithibi Majhi-headed 10-member group of ministers constituted to oversee and co-ordinate the ongoing relief and rehabilitation operations in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts, sources said.
Sekhar, however, remained unfazed by the development, dropping hints about gearing up for the legal battle. He had made the comment last week.
“I have not received anything formally but I will not bow to pressure. I stick to what I have said. I will be submitting videos and photographs of forestland encroached by illegal Bangladeshis to the court. Whether it is Manas or Kaziranga, thousands of forestland are been encroached upon with the minister looking the other way,” Sekhar alleged.
Sekhar went on to say it was Hussain’s constitutional duty to protect and preserve forestland just as it was his duty to raise issues of importance to Assam as a “responsible” citizen and BJP leader.