TURA, Jan 18: Lawlessness in the plains of West Garo Hills has touched an all-time high after gangs of criminals, peeved at the frequent patrolling and inspection of illegal goods movement, targeted government forest teams by attempting to torch a forest post with the inmates inside on the wee hours of Monday.
The criminals targeted the state forest check gate located in Dhanua, 25 km from Garobadha town and under the jurisdiction of Hallidayganj police station, by setting ablaze the house where the weary forest patrol party members were sleeping after an entire day of patrol duty.
“The incident occurred at approximately after 1 am on Monday morning when they tried to set on fire our gate and a house where our two members were asleep. It appears that had targetted us because our patrol teams have been conducting raids against illegal stone quarrying for the last 5-6 months,” revealed Garo Hills Divisional Forest Officer, Sachin Gavade, while speaking to The Shillong Times on Monday.
According to the forest officials, the attack took place after a group of miscreants entered the Dhanua forest gate premises and lured the watchdogs away with eatables. They targeted the quarter where the staff were asleep by pouring kerosene through the door and setting it ablaze.
A forest guard, who was inside the room, managed to cheat death after his colleagues, who were asleep in a room next to his, heard his cries for help.
The arson attack destroyed several used transportation challans of boulder exporting companies, plastic chairs and buckets, and a table fan.
Two forest guard employees, who were in the adjacent room, sustained minor burn injuries on their hands while fighting the blaze during the arson attack.
The prime suspicion on the attack is on the illegal stone quarry operators who seem to have been irked by the forest authorities’ move to check the illegal trade.