A woman was killed while five others sustained bullet injuries after being fired upon by rangers of the forest department for allegedly trespassing inside evicted land at Bura Chapori Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam’s Sonitpur district.
According to information received, the forest officials fired upon the group for allegedly trespassing inside the area without permission on Sunday night. Six people were injured in the incident.
Unfortunately, a woman in the group sustained fatal gunshot injuries and died while being taken to a nearby hospital. The deceased woman has been identified as Rahima Khatun. The other five injured persons are Ahmed Ali, Ramzan Ali, Samsher Ali and Fatima Khatun.
Meanwhile, forest officials claimed that it was an encroachment attempt and was dealt with necessary actions. They said the alleged encroachers had started already building huts in the evicted land in bid to occupy it once again.
Earlier this year, Assam Minister Pijush Hazarika reiterated the state government’s stance against illegal encroachers taking up government lands.
He said that the drive against these illegal encroachers for freeing the government lands will continue. Speaking to reporters in Nagaon, he said, "We will continue our drive against illegal encroachers. If someone will go against the law, we will not allow anything to happen against the law."
Congress MLA Rupahihat constituency Nurul Huda had tried to stop the eviction drive being carried out at the Burachapori Wildlife Sanctuary area that started on February 14.
The drive was carried out by the Sonitpur and Nagaon district administrations against those who had allegedly "illegally occupied" around 1892 hectares of the land of the wildlife sanctuary.
The administration conducted an eviction drive at Kamalagarh Betoni, Longketapu, Sialitapu, Sialichapori, Gabeshtapu, Baghetapu, Pub Lathimari, Pachim Lathimari area inside the wildlife sanctuary on February 14 and 15.
Over 2000 security personnel including paramilitary, home guards, CRPF, and Assam police were deployed in the area to avoid any untoward incident during the the anti-encroachment drive.
According to the district administration of Sonitpur and Nagaon, a large number of government lands have been illegally occupied by encroachers in the area and the administration had already issued notices to them to vacate the lands one month ago.