Monday, November 23, 2009

Naxals set afire wood depot in Alapalli

Mazhar Ali, TNN 24 November 2009, 05:42am IST

CHANDRAPUR: In a major instance of arson, a group of Naxalites set fire to a wood depot of forest department near Alapalli in Gadchiroli district in

the wee hours of Sunday. The fire was blazing till late Sunday evening, even 18 hours after the incident.

Sources said around 30 armed rebels reached the depot of forest department located a mere half a km from Alapalli in the dead of the night. They threatened the two watchmen posted at the depot and set ablaze the fuel-wood stacks with the help of ignited tyres. "Several hundred fuel-wood stacks kept at the depot were set ablaze. The inferno was so massive that flames could be seen rising in the sky from Alapalli," sources said. DCF, Allapalli forest division, Rishikesh Ranjan confirmed the incident and said the exact loss of the property could not be ascertained as the wood was still burning. Tentatively, the loss has been estimated at Rs 10 lakh. "The Naxalites burnt around 2000 fuel-wood stacks. As no fire tenders were immediately available, we isolated the burning wood to limit the inferno and brought the fire under control with the help of our water tankers," said Ranjan.

He said there were two watchmen at the depot when the Naxalites reached the depot after midnight, but fortunately they were not thrashed. "The rebels asked the watchmen to stay in a corner as the wood piles were set afire. Both the guards managed to slip away in the dark," said Ranjan.

Police officials at Gadchiroli too confirmed the incident but held that forest officials have not officially filed any report until Sunday evening. "We have learnt that around 30-40 Naxalites were involved in the arson. But forest officials have not given details of loss," said cops in Gadchiroli police headquarters.

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