Body found in STR north division of Odisha, kin blame forest department

The deceased Jagannath Hembram (25) belongs to Burudisahi village under Bramhanagaon GP within Bangiriposi police limits.

Published: 02nd June 2023 10:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2023 10:49 AM   |  A+A-

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Image used for representational purposes. (File Photo)

By Express News Service

BARIPADA:  Recovery of a body from Talbandh wildlife range under STR north division on Thursday sparked controversy with relatives of the deceased alleging he was gunned down by forest personnel suspecting him to be a poacher. 

The deceased Jagannath Hembram (25) belongs to Burudisahi village under Bramhanagaon GP within Bangiriposi police limits. Sources said, soon after locals saw the body with injuries on the abdomen and back, they informed Baripada police who rushed to the spot along with Bangiriposi and the sub-divisional police officer of Baripada Pakash Jamesh Toppo. The body was seized and sent to Pandit Raghunath Murmu Medical College and Hospital (PRM MCH) for postmortem. 

Police said the exact reason for death can be ascertained after the report is received.  After the news of the Jagannath’s death, his relative Malati Hembram, registered a complaint with Bangiriposi police alleging that the forest officials gunned him down on Wednesday when he along with his neighbours had gone to the forest in search of a bull that was missing since Tuesday. 

However, refuting the charges, regional chief conservator of forests (RCCF) Similipal Prakash Chand Gogineni said no guns or arms were used on the armed poachers who had sneaked into Talbandh wildlife range forests for poaching on Wednesday. Rather the forest personnel seized a country-made gun along with two bows and 12 arrows from the spot, he added. 

As per the RCCF, more than 10 armed poachers were intercepted by two teams of 15 forest personnel each from Chahala and Talabandh wildlife ranges during the combing operation.  “On being questioned, the poachers did not respond but started attacking the team members. During the face-off, the forest personnel fired in air to drive the poachers away. But none of the poachers was gunned down,” Gogineni said.

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