Cachar DFO stopped, threatened by armed individuals deployed by Mizoram; "They are not letting us patrol our forest area," Sunnydeo Choudhury
DFO, Cachar Sunnydeo Choudhury along with his team of officials from the forest department visited the Khulicherra forest area yesterday for inspection. He was stopped by heavily armed individuals who identified themselves as jawans from Indian Reserve Battalion, Mizoram.
“10 days back we patrolled the forest which is a routine exercise and today they have stopped us and are claiming this to be an area inside Mizoram’s boundary,” said Sunnydeo Choudhury, DFO, Cachar. This is an area under the Hawaitang Forest Range Office, Dholai. It is in this area a school operated by the Government of Assam has been bombed and demolished.
“We were not here to take stock of tension. The two governments are handling the situation and it is not the purpose of my visit. We visiting to patrol the forest, as we did ten days back. Any mishap happens in the forest area, who will take the responsibility? However, we were shocked to see such heavy deployment of force with advanced weapons,” added Choudhury.
The Indian Forest Service Officer was not only stopped but also threatened by the deployment there. The entire visit was recorded by the officials from Cachar Forest Department. Barak Bulletin has got access to the videos featuring young individuals in uniform with rifles on their shoulders asking. They are heard saying, “Go back” and while making gestures which are offensive at best and derogatory at worse.
“Normally, government servants, no matter how worse the conflict is, do not use such language or resort to threatening. I doubt if there is a mix of outsiders in the IR Batallion,” said Choudhury.
Other officials of the Cachar forest department were also shocked at the response. “They have earmarked a bridge by themselves and according to them, that is the border. We walked and patrolled this area ten days back and in ten days, without any intimation, they are walking with rifles in the jungle. This is absurd,” said an official from Cachar Forest Department who was present in that visit.
Cachar DFO made it clear that the forest range will continue patrolling the forest area. “We will go there today too and see what is the situation. I repeat, the purpose of my visit is to patrol our forest area as this is our responsibility.”