Exchange of firing between forest personnel and timber smugglers inside the Dullung Reserve Forest in Lakhimpur district along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border resulted in the detention of an elephant and three mahouts.
The incident of firing took place on Tuesday afternoon when forest personnel from Pathalipam Forest Beat and Tariyani Forest Beat spotted an elephant carrying timber logs along with some suspected timber smugglers.
The elephant and the suspected timer smugglers were spotted in the No. 2 Ghagar area under Dullung Reserve Forest near the inter-state border between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, said sources.
As the team of Assam’s forest personnel asked the suspected timber smugglers to stop, instead of responding to the forest personnel, they started firing targetting the forest team, sources informed.
“In retaliation, the Assam forest personnel also fired back without any delay,” sources said.
“However, the timber smugglers managed to sneak into the Arunachal Pradesh side of the inter-state border by taking cover of the dense jungle leaving the elephant and three mahouts on the spot,” sources added.
The Lakhimpur forest department detained the elephant along with three mahouts.
The mahouts have been identified as 30-year-old Bikash Gogoi, 37-year-old Kuheswar Gogoi and 48-year-old Raju Das.
It may be mentioned that massive tree felling has been going on unabated inside the Dullung Reserve Forest, located along the Assam-Arunachal inter-state border in the Lakhimpur district.
It has been alleged that from this reserve forest, timber logs in large numbers are transported illegally to the neighbouring state.