BARIPADA: Tension ran high at Barapanaposhi village under Dudhiani forest range in Karanjia after a forest guard thrashed a pregnant woman suspecting her to be a timber smuggler.
The pregnant woman, Sukumati Guhia of Barapanaposhi, sustained a fracture on her hand in the assault and has been admitted to Karanjia hospital.
The accused, identified as Kabita Behera, was engaged as a forest guard in Dudhiani range on contractual basis.
Sources said Kabita along with some forest personnel raided Sukumati’ house on a tip-off that she had stocked valuable timber in her house.
When the forest personnel failed to find any wood, they allegedly tried to coerce the victim to admit that she had smuggled wood from the forest.
However, Sukumati denied any wrongdoing and claimed innocence. This enraged Kabita who assaulted the victim before leaving the place.
On being informed about the incident, neighbours went to Sukumati’s house and found her writhing in pain. She was immediately rushed to the hospital.
Protesting the injustice against Sukumati, irate locals blocked Tatto-Tangabila road at Tatto chowk later in the day.
The agitators demanded immediate arrest of the woman forest guard and financial assistance to the victim for medical treatment.
The road blockade continued from 9 am to 4 pm bringing vehicular movement on the route to a grinding halt.
Later, Karanjia Tehsildar Tapash Ranjan Dehuri and IIC Sarojini Singh reached the protest site and assured action against the accused forest guard following which the blockade was lifted.
Karanjia DFO Prasanna Behera said the woman forest guard has been suspended for negligence of duty.
Basing on the complaint of Sukumati, Kabita has been detained by police.
IIC Singh said the accused forest guard is being interrogated and further action will be taken after investigation is over.