7 timber smugglers booked under PSA in Shopian

Shopian: Shopian administration on Saturday booked seven ‘notorious’ forest smugglers under Public Safety Act, these persons according to police sources were involved in forest smuggling, attacks on forest protection employees and causing damages to forest property.
Officials of forest department and revenue even though refused to reveal the names of the persons, who have been booked under this act, however said that cases of these persons were under trial and on Saturday they were booked under the Public Safety Act.
A police source said that most of the persons booked under this act belong to the Keller Tehsil of the district that has seen most of the attacks in the area.
“Since last many years, forest protection employees were attacked and injured in Keller area moreover due to the continuous lockdowns in 2016, 2019, 2020 and 2021, the forest encroachments increased in Keller, Hirpora and Sedow areas,” officials said.
According to Wildlife Officials, large apple orchards have been grown on the forest land in these areas and non local families have occupied the forest land too.
Muhammad Ayub Sheikh, divisional forest officer Shopian told Kashmir Reader that these persons booke underr PSA have many cases against them for forest smuggling and damaging the trees.
“In the past these persons were given clemency but they continued to attack our employees and destroy the forests so now they have been booked under the Public Safety Act,” he said.
Sheikh said that all the persons booked are from Keller areas” The names are confidential yet due to some reasons. They have not been sent to jail yet but they are convicted now,” he said.
The Public Safety Act was introduced by the former Chief Minister, Sheikh Abdullah,in 1978 to apparently stop the smuggling of timber. However, the political motives behind the law became clearer when Sheikh Abdullah used it for the first time against political rivals. Following the bifurcation ofJammu and Kashmir in 2019, PSA was one of the state laws which was retained under the Jammu andKashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019.

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