Dibrugarh: A suspected timber smuggler was injured in a firing incident with the officials of the Forest Department at Bashabnala under Hokunguri range in Dehing-Patkai National Park in Dibrugarh, Assam on Monday.

According to sources, the timber smuggler entered the Dehing-Patkai National Park to chop trees with saw machines.

“Forest officials received information about the presence of the timber smuggler, who had come from Arunachal Pradesh to chop trees. The forest team went in search of them and a firing incident took place between the smugglers and forest officials. One timber smuggler was seriously injured during the firing”, said a source.

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Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) BV Sandeep confirmed the firing incident between forest guards and the timber smugglers.

“We have received information that one timber smuggler was seriously injured during the firing. The illegal smugglers came from the Arunachal side to chop trees in Dehing-Patkai National Park. The incident occurred at Bashabnala, which is a few kilometers away from the Arunachal Pradesh border. Many plywood factories have been set up on the Arunachal side, and the smugglers entered the National Park to cut down trees,” he said.

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“We have recovered one rifle and one mobile phone from the site of the firing incident. Our forest team has been conducting regular patrols to stop the chopping of trees”, Sandeep said.

“We cannot confirm the death of the smuggler because his companions have taken him away. He was seriously injured”, Sandeep added.

Sources said that due to the mushrooming growth of saw mills in Arunachal Pradesh, timber smugglers with machines are entering Dehing-Patkai to chop valuable trees.

“Most of the time, the timber smugglers use elephants to transport the logs. Bashabnala falls on the Assam-Arunachal border, where most crimes take place”, said a source.

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com