Forest encroachers clash with security men; 8 hurt

Dhangadhi, May 1:

Eight persons were injured after district forest employees, forest security guards and police clashed with land encroachers when the former tried to evacuate the latter from a land belonging to the Laligurans Community Forest in Dododhara VDC at 11:00 am today. Police opened seven rounds of fire to control the irate encroachers and arrested three of them.

Sub-inspector Sher Singh Aeri, policemen Keshar Kadayet and Om Saud, forest guard Puspa Raj Bhatta, a member of the community forest, Jageshwor Bhaagat, and land encroachers Sunita Panta, Rangalal Joshi and Santosh BK were injured in the incident.

A security team headed by assistant officer of the district forest office Jagadish Prasad Gupta had gone there to evacuate the encroachers. The clash occurred when the security men set fire to the huts built by the encroachers after they refused to evacuate the land. Police arrested Dirgha Raj Rimal, Balaram BK and Dharma Devi Saud and sent them to district forest office.

The encroachers said they would not leave the place until they were rehabilitated. “If the persons from the community forest users’ group attempt to forcibly evacuate us, we will also burn down their houses,” said Lal Bahadur Shahi.

Meanwhile, a team led by Shahi abducted a 12-year-old Khamba Thakulla, a nephew of Bhim Bahadur Budha, who is the vice-president of the Laligurans Community Forest Users’ Group. According to Budha, the gang abducted Thakulla after the clash. The encroachers said they would not release Thakulla until the arrested persons were not be released immediately.