Seven forest officers in soup over assault, filing false case
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Seven forest officers in soup over assault, filing false case

June 5, 2020

Cases booked against them at Hanur Police Station near Chamarajanagar after the assault video went viral

Hanur: Seven Forest Department employees are in the dock for allegedly assaulting and filing a false illegal fishing case against four persons in Hanur village near Chamarajanagar. Interestingly, the case came to light as the forest employees made video of the assault and later uploaded the same on social media and the incident came to the knowledge of senior officers.

A case has been booked in Hanur Police Station against Cauvery Wildlife Area Kothanur Beat forest staff Anil Valikar, Madhukumar, Pundalika Kattekara, Raghavendra Rathod, Anil Padashetty, Challakeri Mahesh and Madesh.

Cases have been filed against them under IPC Sections 143, 147, 148, 341, 323, 324, 504, 506, 114 and 119 — unlawful assembly, rioting, armed with deadly weapon, wrongful restraint, voluntarily causing hurt with a weapon, provocation to break public peace, criminal intimidation, abetting a crime and public servant concealing design to commit offence while it is his duty to prevent.

Details: On April 21, Vincent, a resident of Sathegala Jageri in Kollegal Taluk, had been to Shiluvepura to his uncle’s place. On that day at around 5 am, the accused Forest Department officers requested Vincent and his friends Sagayaraj, Savarinagan and Jnanaprakash to help the Department to douse forest fire in the Cauvery Wildlife Area.

Vincent and friends readily agreed and went to the forest where there was indeed a forest fire. Seeing the intensity of the fire, the four youths told the forest employees that it would be difficult to extinguish such a big fire with limited men and resources.

Enraged by this, the Department staff took the four youths to Bheemeshwari Camp in Kothanur Range and tied their hands to their backs to allegedly assault them. The Department staff allegedly assaulted the youth with sticks and rifle butts. Meanwhile, a video was made of the assault.

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Later, the forest staff fabricated a complaint that the four persons were indulging in illegal fishing in a river and planted evidence to look like the four friends had fishing nets, knives, guns and gun powder in their possession. They booked them under various provisions of Forest Act and Wildlife Act and sent them to jail.

Not stopping at this, the forest staff uploaded the assault video on social media which went viral and the video was observed by senior officers. The issue lay dormant for some time until the four youths were released on bail. After securing bail, Vincent approached the Hanur Police Station and explained the facts of the incident and also showed the Police the viral video.

Vincent explained to the Police and also filed a complaint that stated that the assault was to avenge a case that was booked under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. Forest Watcher Ayyandorai’s son was arrested in 2018 under the POCSO Act. Vincent told the Police that the Forest Department staff were avenging the arrest by assaulting them (four friends).

On the basis of the video, cases have been booked against Anil Valikar, Madhukumar, Pundalika Kattekara, Raghavendra Rathod, Anil Padashetty, Challakeri Mahesh and Madesh. The Hanur Police are investigating.

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