THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The police are yet to make any arrest in the attack on a man who tried to prevent illegal sand mining near his residence at Vellarada here on Thursday.
“The lorry used to transport the sand was seized from Nilamamoodu. The accused are at large and a search is on,” said Vellarada circle-inspector K Johnson.
Robert Raj, 42, of Robert Nivas, Venkode, Cheriyakolla, suffered fracture to his legs after he was trapped under the wheel of a lorry laden with sand. Robert has been admitted to the CSI Medical College, Karakonam, and his condition is reported to be out of danger.
The accused in the case are his neighbour Vincent, Vincent’s accomplices, one Jayalal and another person who drove the lorry. The police said Robert Raj had opposed illegal sand mining from Vincent’s paddyfield, adjacent to his plot. On Thursday early morning, Robert Raj found his neighbour trying to transport sand and he opposed the act. Around 4.30 am, Robert telephoned the police and tried to block the lorry till the police party arrived.
An altercation occurred between Robert and the accused following which the former was pushed down. When Jayalal tried to drive away Robert got trapped under the lorry. The vehicle ran over him injuring his legs.
Robert was found bathed in blood by the police party which arrived following his earlier alert. By that time the accused managed to escape on the lorry and police rushed him to hospital.
The police said the accused was involved in various other cases, including those for illegal sand mining. “As the lorry was found at Nilamamoodu which shares borders with Tamil Nadu, we suspect that they have escaped to Tamil Nadu. Their mobile phones are switched off since Thursday morning,” the circle inspector said.
Illegal sand mining is rampant in several private properties at Venkode, Cheriyakolla and nearby places. Mining from paddyfields often results in altercations when neighbouring farmers oppose it citing fall in water-level and damage to crops.