The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh seeking a report within two weeks on the killing of 20 people in an alleged encounter with red sanders smugglers.
The Commission took suo motu cognisance of media reports that 20 alleged red sanders smugglers were killed in the early hours of Tuesday in a firing by a joint team of special police and forest personnel in the Seshachalam forests of Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh.
NHRC member Justice D. Murugesan, who is camping in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with a sitting of the Commission, said: “The incident involved a serious violation of human rights of the individuals and opening fire cannot be justified on the ground of self-defence since it resulted in the loss of lives of 20 persons.”
“From media reports it appears that police and forest officials opened fire as the smugglers attacked them with stones, axes and knives,” the notice said.
It said the issue would be taken up for hearing at the camp sitting of the Commission to be held in Hyderabad on April 23.
Mr. Justice Murugesan recalled a similar incident from December 2014, “when Andhra Pradesh forest officials were seen torturing and assaulting a naked man.”