VELLORE: Human rights activists condemned alleged ill-treatment and threats made to the three eye-witnesses in the Seshachalam encounter case in which 20 Tamil Nadu woodcutters were killed by the Special Task Force.
After the SIT team interrogated the witnesses in Tiruvannamalai on July 20 the eye-witnesses were asked to trace the route they
took to Chittoor from where they managed to escape while their friends and fellow woodcutters were arrested and later killed in an encounter on April 7.
Of the three eye-witnesses - M Illangovan, P Sekar and A Balachandran, Balachandran refused to accompany the SIT team after they had crossed the Tamil Nadu border as he claimed that he had returned to his village from the border after missing the bus on April 6. The other two witnesses were asked to trace their journey by the SIT and were taken to SIT headquarters at 2 AM on July 21 and were released around 10.30 AM after the NGO People’s Watch, which came to know of the two witnesses being held against their wishes, registered their protest. The NGO questioned the police department as to why they did not accompany the witnesses when the SIT team took them to Andhra Pradesh.
The activists also demanded the Tamil Nadu government’s intervention in the AP High Court to secure justice for the victims and to seek the immediate release of more than 600 prisoners hailing from TN languishing in AP prisons.