Timber Smuggler Booked Under PSA

Bhaderwah- Authorities on Thursday slapped the Public Safety Act (PSA) against a notorious timber smuggler in Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district, officials said.

Aashiq Husain Sheikh (52) alias “‘Aashiq Panga” of Bhaderwah town remained at large for over a decade and was booked in a dozen cases of illegal felling of trees, smuggling of timber and attacking forest department personnel, they said.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Bhaderwah, Chander Shekhar said Sheikh was involved in timber smuggling for the past two decades.

“He was several times summoned to Divisional Forest Office Bhaderwah and Range Office Neeru, but the notorious smuggler, also known as ‘Veerappan of Bhaderwah’, remained at large and never turned up. Instead, he used to intimidate the forest officials,” Shekhar said.

His dossier was prepared and sent to the deputy commissioner, Doda for taking a final call. DC Vishesh Paul Mahajan passed orders for his detention under the stringent J-K Public Safety Act 1978, the DFO said.

“Accordingly, police laid multiple nakas in and around Bhadarwah Valley, beside cordoning off the Halian area. Finally, the notorious smuggler was arrested late in the evening,” the official said, adding the accused was shifted to District Jail, Bhaderwah.

Shekhar said some other persons from Tanta and Jaie area of Chirala Range, Rajpura Jatoota area of Bhalessa Range and Thanhala area of Neeru Range are also indulging in timber. We have prepared half a dozen dossiers and strict action against them too is on the cards, he added.

District Magistrate, Doda, Vishesh Paul Mahajan has imposed a ban under Section 144 of CrPC on sale, purchase and use of portable chain saw (mechanical cutters) in Doda.

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