KADAPA: Two red sander smugglers, believed to be hailing from Tamil Nadu, were shot dead in a confrontation with a police party, in Gadela forest area early Wednesday morning.
According to police, they had to open fire after coming under attack by a group of over 100 smugglers. Sources said a special party of policemen and forest officials, led by sub-inspector Raju, entered the Gadela forest in Obulavaripalle mandal to flush out red sander smugglers. During the operation, the team came face-to-face with a gang of 100-odd smugglers. The gang was allegedly cutting trees when the patrol party chanced upon it.
Meanwhile, noticing the approaching party, the gang members started pelting stones at the officials. The gang also attacked the team with sticks and axes.
Meanwhile, police took cover and opened fire at the attackers. Two persons, aged around 35 years, and suspected to be hailing from Tamil Nadu were killed in the encounter. Police were on the lookout for the other members of the gang, who managed to escape.
Officer on special duty (administration) T Chandrasekhar Reddy, Rajampet DSP G V Ramana, Rajampet DFO Venkateswarlu and other officials rushed to the encounter site.
Chandrasekhar Reddy told reporters that the police had to open fire in self-defence. He said they would continue the operations inside the forests until the red sanders cutting, transportation and smuggling activities are stopped completely.