Bongaigaon, Jan 31: A forest guard was found hanging from a tree on the forest range office campus at Panbari in Chirang district this morning, triggering sharp reactions among the residents in his native place Sidli in Chirang district.
The deceased has been identified as Utpal Barman (30), a father of two children.
The family of the deceased alleged that the Range Officer of the Manas Tiger Project’s Panbari office had killed Utpal in cold blood and hanged his body to project it as a case of suicide.
Utpal, posted at the Gabhorukhunda beat office, had been sent home by Range Officer Abhijit Dowerah on a compulsory leave a few days back for allegedly killing a few rabbits and consuming the meat with his fellow staff. Utpal and his associates were later called by the Project Director to his office at Barpeta Road on Saturday for questioning.
Accordingly, he reached the office along with his mother and a younger brother. He was physically assaulted there in the name of interrogation by the officials, Dipal Barman, brother of the deceased, alleged.
Later in the evening, Utpal was brought to the Panbari Range Office, where Dowerah, too, beat him up in the name of questioning, the family members alleged.
This morning, the office conveyed the news of Utpal’s death to his family. Utpal’s brother Uttam said that after reaching the spot, they noticed that although the body was hanging from a tree, his feet were touching the ground and it also bore signs of torture. Dowerah, however, has refuted the allegations before the media and claimed that it was purely a case of suicide.
After an autopsy conducted at the Kajalgaon Civil Hospital this afternoon, police handed over the body to the family. The family members said they would drag Dowerah to court.