Bison hunting: search on for three more suspects

Farmers oppose investigation, say charges are fabricated

The Forest Department squad probing the killing of a bison in the Peruvannamoozhi forest range last month has said that the three remaining suspects will be nabbed soon.

A section of farmers in the region has opposed the ongoing probe, claiming that the charges were fabricated. However, a squad member said they had got enough evidence from the three arrested persons.

Two of the absconding suspects in the case were arrested from Aralam in Kannur on Friday. Jaimon, the main accused, was arrested soon after the incident that took place on August 25. It was after Jaimon’s arrest that hundreds of upland farmers launched a protest against the department.

An official of the department said Sunil George, 38, and Saji alias Sebastian, 48, who were remanded to judicial custody on Friday, had direct involvement in the case. Both had been evading investigators, and they were detained by a mufti squad from an estate near Aralam, he added. The Forest squad also claimed that they had earlier seized a knife that the hunters had used to cut the bison’s meat for local distribution.

Around 30 persons are suspected of sharing the meat weighing around 150 kg.

Meanwhile, the Peruvannamoozhi police on Sunday arrested 14 persons who were accused of attacking a Forest Department vehicle during a protest demanding Jaimon’s release.

The police said 13 of the 14 suspects, including Jithesh Muthukad, chairman of a local farmers’ action committee, had voluntarily surrendered.

The protesters created stormy scenes at the police station on Sunday evening, alleging that they had been falsely implicated in the case on the basis of two forged petitions filed by the Forest Department.

They also threatened to launch an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Collectorate condemning the police action.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 1:53:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/bison-hunting-search-on-for-three-more-suspects/article24963015.ece

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