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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Dhenkanal: As many as seven forest department employees including two forest guards and five forest watchers sustained serious injuries after they were attacked with sticks, stones and missiles by a group of miscreants belonging to a local stone quarry mafia at Karadabani area under Nihalprasad police limits in the district on Saturday.

The miscreants also took away their service revolvers, cell phones and other articles when they lay injured following the ambush. The injured were later admitted to the Barapada hospital.

Upon receiving the information, the Nihalprasad police reached the spot and launched a search operation to nab the culprits.

According to police sources, following the receipt of a complaint that illegal stone mining activities were underway at Karadabani, a forest department team rushed to the spot.  However, the miscreants, who seemed to have anticipated the inspection by the forest officials, made an ambush with sticks and stones, leaving several of them injured.

“Around 25 miscreants attacked our guards. One Pramod Lenka among them has been identified. We have lodged an FIR at the Nihalprasad police station and informed the Collector about the incident,” said Prakash Chand Gogineni, District Forest Officer (DFO) Dhenkanal.

“A mafia group is operating in the area and we have intensified patrolling. Everybody’s cooperation is required to nab the culprits,” said Gogineni.

It is worth mentioning that Illegal stone mining is continuing unabated in the State due to the alleged indifferent attitude of the administration.

Earlier on October 22, the State Government had placed Gunupur Tehsildar Lakshminarayan Sabat under suspension for allegedly not taking action against illegal stone quarrying at Okilguda area in Ganjam District.

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