SP Bhadarwah Roop Raj said that they were on manhunt for these smugglers since February 26, and that the police apprehended all the five culprits from their respective houses in Runta–Halyan from where they were brought to the Bhadarwah Police Station.
It’s notable to mention here that the media has reported about the large-scale green felling on February 21, the attack on the press photographer, and seizure of the timber by the police on February 27. In the operation police siezed 45 timber scants besides 25 young green cedar trees of pole height worth millions of rupees from the village Runta-Halyan.
On the one hand, the Police has taken the initiative and made huge seizure but surprisingly the Forest department has maintained a criminal silence, and is continuously playing delalying delaying tactics by not even initiating an enquiry.
When this correspondent contacted Conservator Chenab Circle M.M.Gupta, and enquired from him that what action he has taken after the huge seizure by the police, he again tried to evade the query by saying that he is at Jammu, and can comment about the matter only after reaching Doda, and handed over the phone to DFO Bhadarwah Mushtaq Chowdhary, who when asked about the seizure that too of 25 green trees, he outrightly rejected the claim by saying that all the seizure made by the police is of dry cedar trees.
When this correspondent pointed out that he himself was on the spot and all the 25 trees were completely green which is evident from the photographs as well and police has also mentioned the same thing in their seizer report - Mushtaq Chowdhary snapped back that he has got to believe his own staff, who have informed him that all the seizure made by the police is that of dry trees.
According to reliable sources, the forest officers are hand in glow with the smugglers, and they get huge kickbacks from the forest mafia - that’s why no action is being taken even by the higher ups of the forest department despite getting all the proof in the shape of videos and still photographs.
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