MYSURU: A sandalwood thief was killed when a forest guard opened fire on a gang of smugglers at Lingambudi lake located in the Ramakrishnanagar area of Mysuru in the wee hours of Saturday.
The Karnataka forest department had posted four guards at the lake following two incidents of sandalwood tree felling in the first week of February. At around 2.30 am Saturday, the guards heard some noise and three of them went to check.
They found 8-10 persons felling the wood. When challenged, the thieves scattered and started hurling stones at the guards. One of the guards fired his slide-action gun in the air. When the thieves stood their ground, the guard shot one of the smugglers.
Deputy conservator of forests Karikalan said the guard acted in self-protection.
“The thieves were armed with machetes, rods and longs (blades shaped like a sword) and were not giving up despite the warnings. The spot where the incident took place was thickly wooded and our guards had no choice but to open fire.”
The deceased thief has been identified as Shankar (32), a resident of Mahadevapura Colony in HD Kote taluk. He received a bullet wound in the head and died on the spot. The other smugglers escaped leaving behind a cell phone and their machetes.
Karikalan said that the authorities suspect that the thieves entered the area from a graveyard abutting the lake, taking advantage of the lack of proper fencing.