Thirteen people were injured in Madhya Pradesh’s Burhanpur district after an anti-encroachment exercise by the forest department sparked a violent clash with illegal occupants of forest land.
Shocking visuals of the standoff showed the encroachers using crude bombs, bows and arrows and countrymade firearms to stop the anti-encroachment team from approaching.
The incident took place on Saturday, when the team reached Ghaghrala forests following reports of encroachment and illegal felling of trees. They were attacked by at least 150 people armed with bows and arrows, stones, country-made bombs and other firearms.
Videos show the team members in riot gear struggling to move forward in the face of the offensive. Some villagers accompanying the forest team also suffered serious injuries.
“Around 200 encroachers have arrived here in the forest for three days. We received information that they were carrying country-made bombs and open firing to spread fear. The DFO informed the SP and Collector about the matter in writing,” forest department official RP Rai was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
A forest department personnel and a villager were hit by arrows in the back and shoulder. The injured were admitted to Burhanpur District Hospital and their condition is learnt to be out of danger.
According to reports, the encroachers have taken shelter inside the forest and are not allowing anyone to enter the woods.
Further investigation is underway.