TIRUVANNAMALAI:A four-member team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted an inquiry for over 10 hours on Tuesday with the family members of the 12 victims that died in the ‘encounter’ with AP police in Seshachalam Reserve Forest on April 7, hailing from Tiruvannamalai. Family members of the remaining eight victims (seven from Dharmapuri and one from Salem) will be questioned in the coming days.
The four-member team comprising senior Superintendent of Police Sumedha Dwivedi and senior police officers I R Kurillose, Bimal Jit Uppal and Nitin Kumar recorded the statements of the victims’ family members. RDO of Tiruvannamalai, Umamaheswari, Polur Tahsildar Gopu and Special Tahsildar (Land Acquisition) Subramanian assisted the investigation team. Counsel of Muniyammal (one of the victims’ relative), K Balu was also present during the inquiry.
The legal heirs and parents of the victims were summoned for the inquiry, which began at about 10.30 am and continued till late evening in Circuit House.
The investigation team asked the victims’ kin when they last saw their beloved ones and what they had told them before leaving their native place. The team also asked them as to whether the victims contacted them after they had left their respective villages.
“I told them (NHRC team) what happened from around 1 p.m. on April 6 when my husband left home and on April 7 when I came to know about my husband’s death. I told them that my husband was a painter and not a woodcutter nor does he have any links with red sanders smugglers,” 38 year-old Murugan’s wife Thanjammal told Express. Murugan’s parents Manickam and Muniyammal and younger daughter Kumatha (13) were also questioned. The team also recorded the statements of Ananthapuram Panchayat president Santhamurthy and one Murthy of Arjunapuram village.
“The statements have been recorded verbatim in Tamil with the signature of the witnesses in the statement,” said a police official assisting the NHRC team.
A police officer of the NHRC investigation team said that they would submit the report to the Commission. “The statements of the witnesses have been recorded in the regional language (Tamil) and read out to them. It will be translated and submitted before the Commission,” said the police official.
Widows Plead Compensation
The kin of the victims of the AP encounter pleaded with the NHRC team to unearth the truth behind the brutal killing of their beloved ones by the AP police. Citing their poor economic status, the young widows pleaded with the NHRC to direct the AP government to announce compensation to the victims’ families. “The demands have been put forth before the investigation team and requested it to convey the same to the Commission,” said advocate K Balu on behalf of the victims’ families.