NEW DELHI: Forest guards opened fire on a gang of timber smugglers in Maliyur range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve area on Sunday evening. One person was injured in the incident.
The forest guards, who spotted around eight smugglers, were forced to open fire when they were attacked with sickles and saws. One of the smugglers, Channanayaka, a resident of Basapura in H.D. Kote taluk, suffered a bullet injury in the leg and is undergoing treatment at K.R. Hospital in Mysuru.
Maliyur Range Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) G. Venkatesh told The Hindu that the smugglers had felled teak trees in the forests and cut them into logs, weighing 40 to 50 kg each. The Forest Department personnel from Hurulipura anti-poaching camp, who were carrying out routine combing operations, heard sounds. “Initially, they thought it was a herd of elephants. But, soon saw the smugglers, who were trying to hide. As the forest guards approached them, they abandoned the logs and fled. When our personnel started chasing them, they turned around and attacked our guards,” Mr. Venkatesh said.
The Forest Department seized the teak logs. Officials said combing operations would be intensified as anti-social elements from villages, including Basapura, were notorious for timber smuggling.