A 45-year-old man, who headed a village forest protection committee in Jharkhand’s Gumla district, was killed allegedly by a group of men on Friday after he protested the illegal felling of trees, police said.
Shamim Ansari (45), the president of Raikera forest committee, was beaten to death in Bharno police station by men involved in the illegal timber trade, they said.
Four persons have been arrested in connection with the incident, a senior police officer said. ”Ansari and a forest guard went to Raikera forest in the morning. Around 10.30 am, he called to inform me about the seizure of logs. I asked them to be careful and inform the police. By 11 am, I got information that Ansari was brutally beaten to death with sticks by the villagers,” divisional forest officer (DFO) Srikant Verma told PTI.
He said that Ansari was very dedicated to forest protection.
“As per the information I received from my staff on the ground, the forest guard, who was with Ansari, had asked him to escape as a large number of villagers were coming towards them. Despite repeated requests, he did not leave the place, while the guard fled from the spot and protected himself,” the DFO said. Sub-divisional officer (SDO) Ravi Anand said that Ansari was beaten to death after he stopped some people from cutting trees.
Gumla Superintendent of Police, Dr. Ehtesham Waquarib told PTI ”Four persons have been arrested so far in this connection. Identification and search operation of other persons is still going on.”
On January 4 this year, a 32-year-old man was stoned to death, and his body was set on fire allegedly by a group of people in Jharkhand’s Simdega district on the suspicion that he felled trees to steal wood.
The victim, Sanju Pradhan, was lynched 100 metre from his home near Besrajara Bazar area after a mob called him out and stoned him, and set fire to his body after gathering a pile of wood.
The incident had occurred a fortnight after the Jharkhand Assembly passed the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, which aims at providing “effective protection” of constitutional rights and the prevention of mob violence in the state.
However, Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais in March this year had returned the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, passed by the state assembly in December last year, with objections that included the mismatch between the Hindi and English versions of the Bill and the need to reconsider the definition of ‘mob.