Following the incident of attacks by the sand mafia on the forest department employees near Seonk village in Mohali, the Punjab Forest minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot on Wednesday announced that forest department would arm its employees with weapons for the security of forest areas.

He said a policy in this regard would be prepared and sent to the Cabinet for approval shortly.

During his address to the media persons, Dharamsot said that incident which happened at Seonk village is quite unfortunate and the perpetrators would not be spared. He also said that the attacks by the sand mafia on the forest department employees are being taken with utmost seriousness and in future, the departmental employees would be provided weapons.

He said the state government is fully committed to the safety of the employees of the department and is taking every necessary step in this direction.

The minister further added that the grievously injured in Seonk incident would get Rs 50,000 each and those with lesser injuries would be provided with financial assistance worth Rs 21,000 each besides getting the injured treated at government expense.

He also said that these employees performing their duty with dedication would get two increments each apart from the gallantry awards.

Dharamsot said that the six forest employees were attacked in Seonk-Shingariwala village falling in Mohali on 19 June at 10.30 pm at a checkpoint. He said a case has been registered and the police has arrested four persons.

The tractor-trolley and a private car which was used in the crime, has also been recovered and further interrogation of the arrested persons is on, said the minister.

He also elaborated that forest employees Devinder Singh and Karnail Singh are undergoing treatment at the trauma centre of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.

However, the condition of Devinder Singh is stated to be serious with serious head injuries. He has been kept under 72 hours observation after being operated upon while Karnail Singh has skull fracture with injuries to the right side of his face with sharp edged weapons, added the minister.

Dharamsot also assured that the process is on to ensure strict punishment for the persons responsible for this horrendous incident. He said that the state government has initiated a campaign against the sand and the wood mafia which would be carried on with full earnestness.