Hyderabad: Have the police in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana become “trigger-happy”, as alleged by human rights activists, and resorting to encounters as acts of revenge for the death of four cops in the two recent firing incidents?
There are several doubts being raised about the self-defence claims made by the cops who killed the 20 “red sanders smugglers” in Chitoor in Andhra Pradesh and the five undertrials at the Warangal-Nalgonda border in Telangana.
The nation is currently asking how justifiable and proportionate were the killings by the police of both the states.
In Seshachalam, those killed were apparently illegal woodcutters who were hired by red sanders smugglers. “The issue pertaining to killing of TN labourers has huge ramifications. It would have been an international row if fisherman were shot dead in Sri Lankan waters for fishing illegally. So there is nothing wrong in Tamil Nadu seeking a probe,” said general secretary of the Human Rights Forum V.S. Krishna.
People’s Union for Civil Liberties condemned the encounter of 20 people in Seshachalam calling it a “massacre”.
PUCL national general secretary Dr V. Suresh said, “The massacre is nothing but an attempt to hoodwink the public about wholesale deforestation.”
The Human Rights Forum has demanded that a murder case be booked against the police personnel who participated in the alleged encounters and they be criminally prosecuted. “Police simply cannot wash their hands off after declaring that they were under attack and had to fire in self-defence. Whether there was a justifiable plea of self-defence is a matter to be decided by the courts and not the police. The law will not have it any other way,” said Mr Krishna.
However, cops and retired DGPs brush aside the allegations. Former director general of Sashastra Seema Bal M.V. Krishna Rao said, “If they were just labourers why did they come at 3 am and that too 60 km away from their native state? Smugglers are ultra-rich and they only finance these labourers. It is the money that lures them all the way.”