The tussle between foresters and villagers located on the border of Gir forest has become a routine affair in Junagadh district.
In one such incident,following a complaint by the deputy Sarpanch of Jashapur village in Talala taluka,four forest officers were arrested on Monday,a month after the complaint was lodged.
The Talala police said Jashapur village deputy Sarpanch Khimji Bhanderi had lodged a complaint against B K Parmar (Range forest officer-Sasan Gir Range) and three foresters,Ranabhai Karmata,Laxman Varu and Dilak Ninama,this January. Bhanderi had alleged that the foresters had physically assaulted him,abused and threatened him with life.
On the basis of the complaint,the Talala police registered offences under Section 323,504 and 506 (2) of the Indian Penal Code.
Parmar and the three foresters had carried out a raid on an agricultural land owned by Bhanderi in connection with the illegal felling of trees,which resulted in a tussle. During the raid,the foresters recovered teakwood worth Rs 20,000 from the spot. According to sources,the teak was illegally procured from the Gir forest.
But after the incident,a protest committee was formed by the farmer leaders of Gir.
The committee convened a meeting of the village leaders and sarpanchs of the villages falling on the periphery of Gir Forest.
The villagers of Jashapur also submitted a memorandum to Talala Mamlatadar protesting against the incident and the alleged high handedness of the forest officers.
Police sources further said: “The arrested foresters were produced before the judicial Magistrate First Class court of Talala town,which released them on bail.”