Officials say he was part of a group of poachers

The situation in Haliyal and Alnavar is tense after a resident of Haliyal was found dead in mysterious circumstance in a forest on Monday.

Forest officials said Wasim Mehaboob Saab Durgad and four others entered the reserve forest in Benachi situated on the border of Haliyal (in Uttara Kannada district) and Alnavar (in Dharwad district) on Sunday night. When they tried to escape, forest guards allegedly opened fire in the air.

Except Durgad, the others escaped. On Monday morning, relatives of Durgad found his body in the forest in suspicious circumstance. The relatives alleged that he had been beaten to death with rifle butts by forest officials.

The Forest Department said the five were poachers and had entered the forest to kill wild animals. The officials alleged that they had arrested two of the intruders, and had filed FIR against them.

As the news of Durgad’s death spread, tension gripped Teragaon village. All the five are from Teragaon in Haliyal taluk.

Procedural hurdles delayed the probe with the police of Dharwad district and their counterparts in Uttara Kannada district claiming that the place where Durgad’s body was found did not fall in their jurisdiction. Senior police officers intervened and it was decided that the area fell in the jurisdiction of Alnavar police station in Dharwad district.

The former KPCC president R.V. Deshpande reached the spot and “advised” the relatives of the victim not to accept the body till the Forest Department officials “responsible” for the death were arrested.

Later, the police shifted the body to Alnavar for post-mortem.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of Tergaon police station on Monday evening. More police personnel were rushed to the area.

  • Five persons, including the deceased, entered a forest on Sunday night

  • Forest officials say all five are poachers, and two were arrested