Rashmi Ranjan

The members of the Odisha non-gazetted forest services association, on Monday, launched a symbolic protest against the killing of forester Mati Hansda, who was shot dead by poachers on Friday night at Karanjia in Mayurbhanj district.

Apart from holding the protest, the agitating forest department employees also demanded fulfillment of their five-point charter of demands at the earliest.

As part of their protest, the Forest Department officials will be on duty, however, they will refrain from patrolling, sources informed adding that, the symbolic protest will continue till July 8. 

Moreover, the association has also threatened to intensify their protest at Lower PMG Square in Bhubaneswar from July 10 if their demands are not met.

“During our symbolic protest, we will not go on patrolling but do other office work. Lives are being lost during patrolling, so we will refrain from it. If our demands are not met, we all will go on leave and launch a protest at Lower PMG Square in Bhubaneswar on July 10,” said Jagabandhu Patra, president of the association.

Meanwhile, Odisha Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Sushil Popli appealed to the forest department employees to withdraw the symbolic protest and join patrolling duty.

"I appeal the protesting staff to withdraw the symbolic protest. Weapons are given to employees on security duty. During the recent incident, the forester had revolver. However, poachers suddenly fired upon him leading to his death," Popli said.

It is pertinent to mention here that forester Mati Hansda was shot dead by poachers at Karanjia in Mayurbhanj district. Sources said that the forest department team intercepted a group of poachers inside the range. On seeing the forest officials, the poachers opened fire. Mati Hansda, who sustained a bullet injury on his chest, was immediately rushed to the hospital following the attack. However, he succumbed to the injury later.

Mati's murder is the second such killing in Similipal in the past two months. Earlier, a 35-year-old forest guard was shot dead by a group of poachers in the month of May this year in Similipal forest. A poacher was also killed by forest department officials.

  • Reported by:
  • Deepak Mahanta