Yousuf Ali (30) joined the forest department on 20 February this year.
"He was exhilarated when he secured the job at the forest department," said his father Nizam Uddin. "He was sincere and serious in discharging his duties, to a fault. He never said no to any task."
"This is what ultimately cost his life," rued a grief-stricken Nizam, talking to this newspaper.
On July 30, Yousuf along with a team went to Koroibunia area of Keruntholi beat at Maheshkhali range to stop a group of land grabbers from damaging saplings. The miscreants were a group of around 25 people. Sensing forest officials, they went on the offensive and attacked the team. At one point, they hacked Yousuf in the head with sharp weapons, Sultanul Ahmed Chowdhury, range officer in Maheshkhali under the Chattogram Coastal Forest Division, had told The Daily Star after the incident.
Yousuf was left unconscious from the attack. He was rescued and rushed to Chattogram Medical College Hospital's (CMCH) Intensive Care Unit.
After fighting for his life for five days, he lost the battle on August 5.
Yousuf hailed from Kutubdia upazila under Cox's Bazar, and graduated from the 14th batch of Forestry Science and Technology Institute (FSTI), Nizam Uddin, a former government employee, told The Daily Star.
"He was one of the best human beings I have ever met," said Farid Kamal Raju, a former classmate of Yousuf.
Sultanul Ahmed Chowdhury told The Daily Star Yousuf had a flame in him to serve the department with dedication.
"Yousuf was made team leader of a special unit formed to oversee forest resources ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha, as tree felling increases ahead around that time every year. He was chosen for his dedication, sincerity and his knowledge of the area (as he's a local). We never imagined he will meet such a tragic end so soon," Sultanul said.
Yousuf's attempt to foil the miscreants' forest grabbing is what prompted them to mercilessly attack him, he added.
"We salute him and will remember this ultimate sacrifice."
SM Golam Mowla, divisional forest officer of Chattogram Coastal Forest Division, told The Daily Star that police arrested 13 people in connection with the attack. "We salute Yousuf and will not budge an inch in reclaiming and protecting forest resources he gave his life for," he added.