Five people were arrested and over 100 tribal people from Dahod and Panchmahals were booked by the Godhra taluka police for allegedly trying to occupy a forest land near Kaliavav village in Jha-mbugoda taluka of Panchmahals on Wednesday. The arrested include Jaisinh Bilwad, Mansinh Adivasi, Nanji Katara, Vaishabhai Bilwad and Kangara Bilwad.
According to a complaint by forester Ramu Gadhvi, he was on duty along with two other foresters in the forest range near Kaliavav village on in the morning when a group of over 300 people on foot, bikes and cars and armed with axes, sticks, arrows, shovels and spades reached the area and tried to clear the trees and plough the land. The three foresters tried to stop them but were attacked by the villagers, the complaint stated. The foresters then informed the police and their department who immediately rushed to the spot. When the police and more foresters arrived at the spot, most of the villagers managed to flee, while others were detained by the police.
The main accused had been allegedly conducting a recce in the area for two days and started camping along with the villagers in the nearby village area since midnight, police said. “People were misled by a man who told the villagers that the government was giving away this land to them. We are investigating about him. He has not been identified yet. This land legally belongs to the forest department and the people were trying to plough that land claiming it to be theirs. When the foresters intervened, they were attacked by the mob. No one sustained any major injuries. When police reached the spot, many of them fled and over 70 were detained,” said SP, Panchmahals, Leena Patil.
Four foresters who sustained minor injuries on their hands were given primary treatment. The villagers belonged to both Panchmahals as well as Dahod districts, the police said. All the accused were booked under IPC sections 147 (Punishment for rioting),148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon) ,149(unlawful assembly), 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means), 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 447 (Punishment for criminal trespass), 120 B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 332 (Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty).
Meanwhile, no arrests have been made yet. “The FIR was filed and depending on their role in the entire episode, we will make arrests from those detained and also those who fled the spot. Five people have been arrested so far,” said Deputy SP, RI Desai.