The forest department yesterday recovered around one hectare of land from a "sadhu" living deep into the Bhawal forest in Phulanirchhit area of Gazipur's Sreepur.
Six followers of "sadhu" Joy Guru Monir Shah, who allegedly occupied the land by setting up an "akhra" named “Herabon” there, were arrested for obstructing the land recovery, said Forest Range Officer of Sreepur Mozammel Haque.
The arrestees are Sekender, 60, Nazrul Islam, 28, Safiz Uddin, 35, Mahfuz, 24, Russell, 24, and Fazlul Haque, 45. "Sadhu" Monir was not there during the drive.
Later, the six were produced before a Gazipur court that sent them to jail.
Mozammel said Monir around 10 years ago set up “Herabon” inside Shimlapara Forest Beat on seven decimal of land donated by Jamila Khatun.
He later occupied around 12 bighas of forest land. Different kinds of fruit saplings were planted there, cutting down trees, he added.
The forest department conducted the drive after its meeting with the upazila law enforcement committee. There they discussed grabbing of the forest land and drug trade at the "akhra", he said.
Talking to journalists, Monir alleged that the forest department knocked down establishments on his own land.
He also refuted the allegation of drug trade at his "akhra".
Forest official Mozammel said no drive was conducted on the land of the "akhra".