Assam Police on September 18 have arrested Jaharbari forest range ranger Vivekanand Pathak in connection with an incident that unfolded in the Jaharbari forest area of Kokrajhar. An alleged timber smuggler was killed in an encounter with forest officials on September 17 in Kokrajhar.
The arrest of Vivekanand Pathak came at the hands of Kokrajhar police, who took him into custody following the incident. Pathak has subsequently been sent to jail pending further investigation.
Two forest guards, Tarun Brahma and Khagen Basumatary, who were reportedly involved in the encounter with the timber smugglers, are currently on the run and are considered absconding.
The incident, which occurred on September 17 night, revolved around the alleged smuggling of timber and ended in tragedy as Hemanta Narzary, a 45-year-old resident of Gyanipur village in Serfanguri, Kokrajhar, lost his life in an encounter with forest officials. Narzary was reportedly carrying wooden poles on his bicycle at the time of the incident.
As details emerge, it has been revealed that 16 bicycles were recovered from the possession of the deceased Hemanta Narzary, suggesting the involvement of multiple individuals in the alleged smuggling operation.
According to Kokrajhar district DSP Debajit Mahanta, the encounter took place around 3 a.m. when forest guards attempted to stop the smugglers, who were transporting timber on bicycles. Faced with resistance and an attempt to flee, the forest guards were forced to open fire, resulting in the tragic death of Hemanta Narzary while his accomplices managed to escape.
The deceased's wife, along with villagers and various local organizations, has demanded a comprehensive inquiry into the circumstances leading to the encounter. Assam Police and central paramilitary forces have been deployed to maintain law and order in light of the growing tension surrounding the incident.
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