Smugglers, forest users clash, dozen injured

Itahari, October 31:

Around one-dozen users of Namuna Community Forest Users Group (NCFUG) were injured, one of them critically, in the clash with armed timber smugglers at Sundarpur-6 of Morang last night.

The clash between the smugglers and the members of the community forest group lasted until midnight. The smugglers had attacked the users who were guarding the community forest by sharp weapons such as khukuris and swords injuring around one-dozen persons, inspector of Area Police Office Belbari, Mahendra Thapa said.

Secretary of Namuna Community Forest Users Group Uddhav Luitel, outgoing ward chairman of Sundarpur-6 Krishna Ghale, users Ratna Bahadur Ghale, Mohan Limbu, Tanka Acharya, Deepak Shrestha, Kumar Ghimire, Khageshwor Neupane, Binod Tamang and Laxman Dhakal were among the injured.

Condition of one of the injured, Tanka Acharya, is said to be critical. Acharya, who sustained serious injury on his head, is undergoing treatment in Siliguri of India, police said. The others injured are being treated in BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan and Community Treatment Health Centre at Itahari, inspector Thapa said.

The smugglers had also fired four rounds of bullets in the air during the clash, local residents said. The village remained tense all night yesterday due to the clash.

Chairman of Namuna Community Forest Users Group, Ram Prasad Dangal said local timber smugglers including Rame Tamang, Raje Tamang, Baburam Tamang, Himal Rai and Sunil Tamang had attacked the users of the community.

Police has arrested Raje Tamang while other smugglers are absconding. Search for them is on, police said.