Firing By Forest Staff At Poachers May Have Killed Man In Odisha’s Similipal, Says Official

Baripada: The death of a man in Similipal forest of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district on Thursday took a new turn with a Forest official on Friday stating that he might be killed in firing by his staff.

Speaking to media persons, Prakash Chand Gogineni, Regional Chief Conservator of Forest said following a tip-off that a group of poachers had entered Similipal sanctuary, a team of Forest officials led by Talabandha ranger Shailendra Kumar Das went on a patrolling to track the poachers. They spotted around 10 poachers who were carrying guns and bows and arrows.

“When the Forest staff alerted the poachers and tried to approach them, the latter fired from their guns and also attacked with arrows. In self defence, the Forest staff fired in the air. The poachers then fled the place,” he said.

“Police have recovered a .303 bullet from the body of the deceased. Most probably, the particular bullet was fired from the gun of our staff. Police are carrying out further investigation in this regard,” Gogineni added.

It may be noted that 40-year-old Jagannath Hembram of Burudi village in Talabandha forest range under Bangiriposi police station had gone in search of his cow on Wednesday. But he did not return home.

On Thursday, Jagannath’s family members along with villagers went in search of him and found his body with bullet marks inside Similipal forest. They alleged that Jagannath was killed by Forest personnel during an encounter with poachers in the reserve forest.

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