Doubts over AP encounter

Tirupati:  With the uproar in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu over the killing of 20 alleged smugglers of red sanders in the Seshachalam forests on Tuesday is yet to die down, the Task Force and the district machinery appeared to be in an 'extreme urgency' to see that things settle down fast. Though this is the biggest encounter in the history of the state, the cops have not come out with an official statement or an FIR even 24 hours after the incident. 

Red sanders ‘smugglers’ shot from close range Witness says woodcutters whisked away from busLogs found at site are allegedly from govt godowns

Giving credence to the allegations that it might not be a genuine encounter, the post-mortem report has made it clear that the firing on the alleged smugglers was done from a close range.  This was told to The Hans India by a doctor associated with the autopsies of the 20 RS woodcutters on condition of anonymity.What is another intriguing factor in the hue and cry that has been raised during the last 24 hours is that so far only relatives of seven deceased red sanders woodcutters arrived in Tirupati to claim the bodies.

 Relatives of the slain woodcutters at the SVRR Hospital in Tirupati

The relatives of the seven woodcutters who came to SV Medical College mortuary and identified the bodies of Murugan (38), Moorthy (38), Mahendran (22), Palani (35), Munuswamy (34), Perumal (37) and Sashi Kumar (34), all hailing from Padavedu, Anandapuram and Kalasamuthiram of Polur taluk in Tiruvannamalai district of Tamil Nadu.  Talking to the media, one of the relatives G Ravi said that a team of 8 RS woodcutters had left their villages to Tirupati Via Nagari on Monday and they were intercepted by cops near the Nagari-Puttur border same evening. 

They added that while 7 of them were taken into custody by the cops, an elderly person of the group managed to evade the arrest and got back to their village. “We didn't realise something this terrible would happen. It was only on Tuesday morning that we learnt about the gory killing of our people inside the Seshachalam forests,” Ravi said in an inconsolable voice. The relatives alleged that Tuesday's killings were nothing but a fake encounter by the cops to terrorise the innocent woodcutters. They demanded the state governments to do justice and conduct a judicial enquiry over the brutal killings.

By:Sandeep Raghavan

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