From: mohanlal panda <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Jul 1, 2011 at 8:58 AM
Subject: Forest Activist killed in J&K
Greetings from PVCHR.
Please refer to the news in the link and the report: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/jk-forest-activist-killed-family-cries-foul/164000-3.html
Budgam: Sonaullah Zargar's family is in a state of shock. The 30-year old forest activist was found dead near a stream a few days ago. Authorities had treated Zargar's death as an accident until his family and locals alleged that a powerful timber mafia and corrupt forest officials could have been behind his death.
A forest officer and three timber smugglers have now been arrested. Zargar was campaigning against timber smuggling in Sukhnag and was mysteriously killed earlier this week.
Victim's wife Saleema said, "They say he drowned. He did not drown. He was killed."
Zargar's neighbour Nazir Ahmad Khan said, "I want to appeal to the police, ministers and Omar Abdullah to get justice for Zargar. He found out the truth, reported it and was murdered. No one will have the courage to come forward again if he doesn't get justice."
Zargar actively campaigned to stop timber smuggling in the forests of Sukhnag in Budgam district and had been able to put a stop to the felling of trees. His family says he often suspected his work was evoking the ire of the local mafia.
While police sources say they will not stop at the three arrests and uncover the timber mafia-officials nexus, the forest activist's killing is a grim fact about how those who blow the whistle about wrong doings are being ruthlessly silenced.
The Omar Abdullah government needs to seriously intervene and deliver a tough message to alleged forest vandals and justice to the victim's family.
Dr. Mohanlal Panda
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