Meghalaya: Angry mob burns vehicle carrying ‘illegal’ timber

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TURA | April 19, 2019:

An angry mob burnt down a car carrying 'illegal' timber near Rongjeng Reserve in East Garo Hills on Thursday evening.

The incident took place at around 10 pm last night, April 18.

Rongjeng has, to an extent borne the brunt of the changing weather patterns in Garo Hills in recent times, with the area being devastated by multiple hailstorms every year, most of which has been attributed to climate change.

According to locals, a vehicle was seen moving suspiciously near the Rongjeng Reserve which led to villagers asking for the vehicle to stop.

The vehicle bore registration number ML 05B 8983 and was caught by alert locals near the PWD office under Rongjeng PS.  

"They were bringing timber from the Dambo Rongjeng Reserve in a Maruti 800, specially modified for this purpose. Upon seeing the angry crowd, the driver ran for his life. Angry, unidentified villagers then burnt the car with the timber inside," said a local on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile the incident of smuggling illegal forest timber has angered most of the locals who have questioned the silence of the administration in this regard.

"If the villagers can catch these criminals, then why can't the authorities, meant to protect our forests do so? Climate change is upon us and these people are still turning a blind eye. This is despicable to say the least," said one CG Momin of Rongjeng.  

Meanwhile speaking on the incident, the superintendent of police EGH, Ringrang TG Momin said, "The incident is under inquiry. No one, including the owner of the vehicle has come forward with a complaint. It was informed to us by the forest patrolling party. The car was carrying 4 beams of timber."