'Order CBI probe on Chittoor killings,' demands Opposition

‘Hard to believe that the AP police had fired in self-defence and it was not an encounter’

New Delhi: Several members in Rajya Sabha on Thursday sought a thorough probe by CBI or by a senior Judge into the alleged killing of 20 Tamil "wood cutters" in a forest by Andhra Pradesh police.

After the House assembled for the post-lunch session, CPI member D Raja raised the issue following which Home Minister Rajnath Singh made a statement quoted reports from Andhra Pradesh government, saying Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) while conducting combing operations at Seshachalam Reserve Forest Area on the intervening night of 6-7 April, were attacked by hundreds of people transporting red sanders logs.

They encircled and attacked the RSASTF personnel with stones and deadly weapons, who fired in self defence, resulting in the death of 20 persons and injuries to 11 of the task force, the Minister said.

Read: 'Has anybody been arrested or questioned,' High Court asks AP police

Singh also informed the House that relatives of the deceased had approached High Court of AP and Telangana which has ordered post-mortem of certain dead bodies.

The Minister's statement also said that the High Court has directed that no officer will divulge result of investigation to anyone except before appropriate court or appropriate official and that the investigation was on.

Singh also gave details of activities related to 'red sanders' smuggling.

Speaking after the statement by the Home Minister, Raja stood up and said he found it hard to believe that the AP police had fired in self-defence and it was not an encounter. They were just poor people belonging to scheduled tribes or backward classes who were looking for work and had been used by the smuggling mafia, Raja said.

Read: NHRC favours judicial enquiry by Andhra Pradesh Government into Chittoor killings

He said there were testimonies of eye witnesses, according to which what had happened was not an encounter. He demanded creation of a SIT by the Centre to probe the matter.

T K Rangarajan (CPI M) said what had happened was "tragedy and barbaric" and added that Home Minister had just given the version of the Andhra Pradesh government. He said brutalities had been committed on those killed.

( Source : PTI )
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