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Shots fired at Assam forest officials

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Guwahati, Nov 23: Smugglers involved in illegal felling of trees in a reserve forest on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh intestate border allegedly fired at a team of Assam forest officials on Tuesday morning, officials said, adding that no one was hurt in the incident. A joint investigation by the two states has begun to nab the miscreants. The firing took place when the forest team went to stop the illegal activity at Ronga reserve forest in Lakhimpur district of Assam. “We got information about the incident around 8:30 am. Smugglers allegedly fired at the Assam forest team. In return, the forest officials also fired shots at the smugglers, following which, they fled,” said BM Rajkhowa, superintendent of police, Lakhimpur. He said there was no certainty yet on whether the miscreants were from Assam or from the neighbouring state. Rajkhowa also ruled out the possibility of the incident being related to any border dispute between the two states. “The situation is normal at the site at present and teams of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh forest and police departments are conducting investigations in the area to nab the miscreants. Local villagers have also joined in,” he said. On Saturday, a team of Assam forest officials were detained by illegal settlers in Ronga reserve forest on the border between the two states. The settlers were allegedly building a road inside the forest. The forest officials were later rescued by a team from Assam police.

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