Two witness-survivors who claimed to be a part of the group of wood-cutters, out of which 20 were killed in an encounter by the Andhra Pradesh police, have recorded their statements with the NHRC.
Three men, including two who have recorded their statements and the third, who is yet to record his statement, have come forward, bringing more clarity to what exactly happened in the Seshachalam forest.
The NHRC has directed that adequate protection be provided to the three survivors and their families and that a Judicial Magistrate conduct an inquiry into the killings. The survivors were accompanied by human rights activist Henri Tiphagne of People’s Watch and Supreme Court advocate Vrinda Grover. The statements of the witnesses challenged the STF and the Andhra Pradesh government's claim of “self defence.”
Twenty men were killed in a joint operation carried out by a Special Task Force comprising police and forest officials on April 7 on the outskirts of Tirupati. The Andhra Pradesh government claimed that the men were smuggling red sanders wood, and that they attacked the STF with stones and sickles, and police opened fire in self defence.