Udupi DC, team attacked by sand mafia

Udupi DC, team attacked by sand mafia

 Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis was chased, abused and manhandled at Kandlur village by illegal sand miners when some officials went on a surprise inspection to a sand extraction site past midnight on Sunday.

The DC, along with her gunman, a zilla panchayat-outsourced driver, assistant commissioner Shilpa Nag and her husband, had gone to check on illegal sand mining in Halnadu and Kandlur following complaints from the public.

This was around 12.15 am on Monday.They first went to Halnadu village, where they were followed by some people on two-wheelers. But on seeing the gunman, they fled.  The team came across some lorries abandoned by their drivers. “We confiscated the keys of three lorries,” the DC said.

The team was able to catch six men, who were handed over to Kundapur police along with the keys of the lorries.

“As we did not want anyone from the local administrative system to be involved, we decided to call the Brahmavar tehsildar. However, he was held up with some personal issue. Halnadu village accountant (VA) was on leave. Hence, Amparu VA accompanied the team,” she said.

When the team went to Kandlur village later, it was followed by several vehicles, including two-wheelers. There were about eight temporary shelters at that site. As soon as the team reached there, those extracting sand illegally started running away. Her gunman chased one of them. But he was followed by a large group.

She said though she kept telling the mob that she was the deputy commissioner, it made no impact. The sand miners kept using abusive language against her and her team. Realising the gravity of the situation, some local people helped the officials get into their cars. Some people even tried to block the car, but the driver managed to get them away from the spot.

In the melee, Amparu VA Kantharaj was left behind and was assaulted by the sand miners.  She called the police, who rescued him.

She then came to Udupi and lodged a complaint of attempt to murder at the Town
police station.

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