Cassian Baliarsingh

Members of STF on Wednesday morning had a close shave after cattle smugglers opened fire at them while they stopped the anti-socials from transporting cattle in large containers near Judia Ghat near Kireitangiri toll plaza in Keonjhar district.

In a bid to escape, the smugglers fired 10-15 rounds at the raid team. Retaliating back, the STF also fired two rounds. However, there have been no reports of casualties.

After a brief exchange of fire, the STF team managed to detain two truck drivers while three others managed to flee.

According to sources, cattle filled in at least 5 large containers were being illegally transported from Sambalpur.  Acting on a tip-off, a 15-member team of STF followed the cattle-laden trucks and tried to intercept it near Judia Ghat.

However, the smugglers fired 10-15 rounds and managed to escape after breaking the toll plaza barricade. In retaliation, the STF also opened 2 rounds of fire. After a brief chase, three of the cattle smugglers managed to escape while the STF intercepted two containers and detained the drivers.

The drivers were taken to local police where they are now being interrogated, police sources said.

Heaping praises on the bravery of the STF team, a local said, “Cattle smuggling has become a matter of serious concern.

We are thankful to the special team for their bravery. If the cattle smugglers can open fire at police team, then imagine what they will do to gau-rakshaks who try to stop the illegal transportation.”

“The bravery of the STF team despite firing is indeed commendable. We are very thankful to them,” he added.