Srinagar: Four persons have been arrested for allegedly murdering a forest department employee who opposed illegal felling of trees in Kashmir Budgam district, officials said on Thursday.
The accused identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, Abdul Razak, Mohammad Ashrag Mir and Abdul Gani War were arrested for murdering a contingency worker in the forest department Sonaullah Zargar on June 21, the officials said.
Zargar reportedly had become a sore in the eyes of the timber smugglers in Arizal and adjoining areas in Khan Sahib and Beerwah for reporting attempts of timber smuggling to his senior officers, they said.
The deceased was instrumental in reducing the illegal felling of trees in his area, which was not liked by the mafia, the officials added.
Investigations are on to see if any forest department officials were also involved in his murder, they said.
Local residents, meanwhile, alleged that timber smugglers were after Zargar?s life and had been threatened several times in the past. Zargar was beaten to death while he tried to stop an attempt of the smugglers to fell some green trees on June 21.
He is survived by wife and four minor children.