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Murder slur on forest guards

- Bullets ‘hit’ woodcutter
The Juria Dolong beat office. Telegraph picture

Golaghat, March 2: Golaghat police have registered a case against the forest department under Section 302 IPC for the alleged murder of a woodcutter.

The case was registered after Chitra Gogoi, a resident of Madhuban village near Nambor reserve forest here, filed an FIR alleging that his brother, Jiten Gogoi, 37, was killed by some forest guards yesterday inside the reserve forest while he was collecting firewood.

The villagers informed this correspondent that they heard gunshots being fired inside the forest around 9.30am yesterday.

Pawan Gogoi, a neighbour of the victim, said in the evening, Chitra informed the villagers that his brother had gone into the forest but had not returned.

The villagers formed a group to search for Jiten and found him lying dead inside the forest.

“The villagers went to Juria Dolong beat office of the forest department under whose jurisdiction the reserve forest falls, to enquire about the incident. However, the forest officials there answered evasively that a patrol had blank fired to prevent a woodcutter from felling trees and in the process, he might have been hit by some bullets,” a source said.

The villagers said it is a common practice among them to go to the forest and collect firewood.

They alleged that Jiten’s killing by the forest guards was nothing but cold-blooded murder and demanded compensation for the victim’s family.

Forest range officer (Golaghat) Sanjib Bordoloi said he was informed by the forest guards that while on regular patrolling duty, they saw a group of people felling trees and in order to dissuade them, they had to fire blanks. Some bullets might have hit Jiten.

He added that it was not a case of deliberate killing.

“We have received two FIRs, one lodged by the kin of the victim and another by the forest department against the woodcutters. We have registered both of them. An investigation is on and truth will soon come into light,” said Shiladitya Chetia, the Golaghat superintendent of police, while talking to The Telegraph.

The forest department has lodged FIR under Sections 143, 447 and 427 IPC.