GUWAHATI: TIRUPATI:It seems highly likely that the weapons used in the encounter at Seshachalam, in which 20 labourers from Tamil Nadu were killed, are the same as what the special task force teams regularly use in combing operations in forest areas. According to sources, the combing team, comprising 11 members, was said to be armed with AK47s and Self Loading Rifles (SLRs).
Even as human rights activists and members of welfare organisations raised serious doubts about the controversial encounter, the major point which every body missed is, ‘’What type of weapons was used by the combing party during the encounter?’’
According to sources, during the postmortem, the special medical team found that vital organs of the deceased were pierced by bullets. From this, it can be inferred that the combing party had used sophisticated weapons which alone can create such heavy impact on the targets. It is a regular exercise for the combing parties of Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) to carry weapons like AK47 and SLR. Also, after the special task force was allowed to use such weapons officially by the government, the confidence of combing parties on curbing red sander smuggling received a major boost. According to informed sources, the firing which killed 20 woodcutters is suspected to be ‘’burst-firing’’. “After the encounter , the organs were found detached. This happens only in burst-firing,’’ a source said. However, unanswered question remains why the combing party shot without giving any warning to wood cutters.
Meanwhile, the cops allegedly injured in the encounter and admitted in the Sri Venkateswara Ramnarayana Ruia Government Hospital (SVRRGH), are said to be stable and recovering. The combing party comprised 10 cops belonging to the RSASTF and one forest department official. On Thursday, they were shifted to A-class ward of the hospital from the out patient (OP) ward. Heavy security is deployed in the ward with instructions not to allow outsiders or media persons to meet them.
Meanwhile, suspecting the presence of red sander smugglers in Seshachalam, forest department personnel are continuing with their combing operations.
The search was conducted in 12 locations and surrounded with 40 cameras to nab the smugglers.
‘’We suspect illegal export of logs from the forest areas. The entry and exit points of the forest have been blocked by combing parties. The major locations where surveillance cameras were set up will be our main target areas,’’ DFO G Srinivasulu said on Thursday.
Even, the RSASTF has deployed an additional force of 200 personnel in the suspected areas of the forest.
Jaya Announces Rs 2L Aid to Kin
Expressing deep sorrow over the gunning down of 20 workers from Tamil Nadu by the Red Sanders Anti-smuggling Task Force of Andhra Pradesh on April 7, AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa on Thursday announced financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the victims on behalf of the party.