Durga`s batchmate in Himachal Pradesh attacked by mining mafia

The sub-divisional magistrate was on official duty to check illegal quarrying in Nalagarh area of Himachal Pradesh.

Shimla: Sub-Divisional Magistrate Yunus Khan, a batch-mate of suspended IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, had a narrow escape when a tractor-trailer tried to ram his official vehicle while he was checking illegal quarrying in Himachal Pradesh`s Nalagarh area, police said on Thursday.

"SDM Yunus Khan was there to check illegal mining along with other officials on Wednesday. When he spotted two vehicles loaded with gravel and sand, he signalled them to stop. But one of the vehicles accelerated towards his vehicle and tried to hit the vehicle," Superintendent of Police S Arul told a news agency.

"The driver of the vehicle Makhan Singh was arrested. He was allegedly involved in illegal mining," he said.

"We got reports of other incidents also where illegal mining is being carried out. We are investigating the matter. More will people will be booked once the investigation in over," Arul added.

Yunus is a batch-mate of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government. The suspension of Nagpal, who took on the sand mafia in Uttar Pradesh`s Gautam Budh Nagar district, had raised a public outcry. The state government maintains she was suspended for ordering the demolition of a mosque wall, and this could have led to communal tensions.

DGP Sanjay Kumar said a case has been registered for obstructing a government functionary from carrying out his duty.

"At this point in time, we can`t say that it`s a case of illegal mining. We are looking into it," he told a news agency.

Officials said the SDM`s vehicle overtook the tractor-trailer but instead of stopping, the tractor driver hit the SDM`s vehicle.

"The tractor driver in a bid to flee from the spot first tried to crash the SDM`s vehicle. Then later he tried to dump the sand on the trailer on the official vehicle," an official said.

For the past few days, Khan had intensified the raids in the Nalagarh area to check illegal riverbed mining. This probably was the cause of attack on him when he visited the area at around 4.15 pm on Wednesday, official sources in the state mining department said.

Illegal mining in the hill state, say officials, is acute in areas adjoining Punjab.

Nalagarh area where the incident occurred is located close to the Punjab border.

The opposition BJP has blamed the government for promoting sand mafia in the state.

"In border areas, sand mafia is flourishing and the government has not taken any steps to stop them," BJP MP Anurag Thakur said.


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