Woodcutters' death in A.P. Vijayawada

Evidences of a fake encounter exist: Rights groups

Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) State General Secretary Ch. Chandrasekhar said the killing of red sander wood cutters in Seshachalam forest range in Chittoor District has clear evidences of a fake encounter.

He demanded that a judicial probe be ordered by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and cases booked against the police under Sec. 302 of Indian Penal Code.

A fact-finding team visit on April 11 by a 40-member group of rights activists led by Delhi-based Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations (CDRO) found many inconsistencies in the claims made by the police.

“There is a pattern to the killings as the bodies were scattered at a distance of eight to ten feet from one another. The bodies had signs of torture according to the kin of the deceased. Many other things clearly suggest that it was a fake encounter. Only a judicial probe or investigation by the CBI will reveal the chilling facts”, Mr. Chandrasekhar asserted.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Chandrasekhar said that there was no evidence of an attack on the two separate batches of Special Task Force (comprising 12 police personnel and three forest guards each) that ventured into the forest.

The workers had no place to hide as there were only small shrubs in the area which is barely a furlong away from the footpath to the abode of Lord Venkateswara on Tirumala hills.

Fifteen CCTV cameras were installed in the area and even an unmanned aerial vehicle was deployed by the police to track the movements of workers most of whom come from Tamil Nadu. The police had enough time to mobilize additional forces if there were 400-plus workers.

“Police had earlier registered cases against hundreds of workers accusing them of killing two Forest Department staff. What is preventing them from initiating criminal proceedings against their colleagues who committed the cold-blooded murder of 20 workers”, Mr. Chandrasekhar questioned and insisted that the incident should be investigated under judicial scrutiny.

Bezawada Bar Association President Ch. S.V. Jagadeeswara Rao, APCLC State Committee member T. Anjaneyulu and District Secretary R. Sridhar also spoke.


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 8:24:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/seshachalam-killings-have-evidences-of-a-fake-encounter-says-rights-groups/article7101964.ece

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