* Villagers stone Hathipaul forest office for being non responsive
Canacona: A forest guard while on duty has gone missing from Khotigao wild life sanctuary, a missing report has been filed by his family at Canacona police station late Saturday night stating that he didn’t return home after he reported for his duty on Saturday morning.
Sources at Canacona police station informed that as per the missing complain filed by family of Yogesh Velip, 30 a resident of Ponsulemoll, he had gone to work at Hedumol forest gate Khotigao on Saturday morning.
Sources with in Yogeshs family informed this correspondent that even he had told his wife that he will come home for lunch on that afternoon.
After he didn’t return home till Saturday evening his family reported to both the forest officials at Hathipaul and Canacona PS after they searched him at his work place and nearby forest area.
An Apachi motorcycle (GA-10-B-2087) belonging to Yogesh with keys in the ignition slot in off position, his bag, a wallet with ATM card inside however were found just infront of the gate he was manning on that day.
The mobile phone which he was carrying however is found switched off sources close to the investigation informed.
Sources added that a truck carrying laterite stones was allowed to go inside the gate by Yogesh at about 10.30am on Saturday later a sand laden truck was allowed inside by him.
Sources informed that when the truck returned after unloading the sand the gate was found closed but without lock, the gate lock with key was found beside the gate.
As Yogesh didn’t return home the word spread in entire Khotigao village and more than three hundred villagers went to the Bella gate and combed the forest near where he was last seen on Saturday afternoon.
The matter was later reported to forest officials at Hathipaul and police station at Mastimol.
With no action coming from the forest department nor from police the villagers gheraoed the Hathipaul forest office and later allegedly threw stones at the office.
Again on Sunday the villagers searched for the whereabouts of Yogesh but didn’t yield any results sources informed.
Later local MLA and deputy speaker Isidore Fernandes, former minister Ramesh Tawadkar together with the aggrieved villagers met the local forest and police officials.
The search by locals continued on Monday morning also.
With pressure mounting on all sides about 24 staff of forest department and 24 of Canacona police arrived at the scene at which Yogesh was last seen groups of six persons accompanied by locals were sent to search at about 4.00pm.
Till the time of going to press the search parties had not arrived or no news came of the whereabouts of Yogesh.
Locals with whom you this correspondent spoke to expressed their anguish in the manner both the forest department and police