TIRUPATI:The fact-finding team of various rights organisations which on Saturday visited the two encounter spots in the Seshachalam forest claimed to have found various discrepancies in the police version of the incident and described the killing of 20 red sanders woodcutters as a fake encounter.
The rights leaders reiterated their demand that a CBI inquiry should be ordered into the incident that happened in Chandragiri mandal in Chittoor district on Tuesday.
However, the rights leaders were booked by the forest officials for entering the reserve forest without permission.
Talking to reporters here after their visit to the forest, a member of the fact-finding team said, “We have gathered evidences from both the encounter spots. The version of the police that they were forced to open fire against the coolies proved false.”
The team demanded that the police personnel responsible for the ‘killings’ should be booked for murder Section 302 of IPC, a judicial inquiry be ordered into the incident besides conducting a re-postmortem of the victims’ bodies.
Human Rights Association general secretary Chiluka Chandrasekhar, various representatives including Ajitha from the People’s Union for Democratic Rights, TSS Mani from the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Tamil Nadu), Raju from the People’s Rights Protection Committee and VS Krishna from the Human Rights Forum (Telangana and AP) were a part of the fact-finding team. A few activists from various other parts of the country, including New Delhi were also in the team.
Criticising chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his cabinet colleagues who defended the police saying that “there was nothing wrong in killing the coolies who came to loot the forest wealth”, the rights leaders said in that case politicians should be killed first as they were the ones responsible for the destruction of forest cover in the name of mining activities. Meanwhile, with the rights activists directly going into the forest to gather information, evidences and pictures from the actual encounter spots without giving any intimation to the forest department officials, the latter booked them for violating provisions of the Forest Act. “On Saturday, we have registered cases against 12 persons who visited the reserve forest area without taking any permission and served notices to them. It is an offence under the AP Forest Act, 1957,” Tirupati Divisional Forest Officer G Srinivasulu told Express.
Tirupati Circle Chief Conservator of Forest M Ravi Kumar said, “As per guidelines, our department registered cases against them (activists).”
Those entering a reserve forest unauthorised would be booked under a bailable section. If it is a sanctuary or a national park zone, the violators would be booked under non-bailable sections, Kumar said.
Citing the development as an evidence of abuse of law by officials, Civil Liberties Committee executive committee member K Kranthi Chaitanya said they had visited the encounter locations along with media personnel for finding facts related to the encounter.
“But they (officials) have registered cases against us unable to digest our fight against the encounter,” he added.
‘Facts’ from Rights Team
Distance between the bodies found at the encounter spots was not more than 10 feet raising serious doubts on the encounter theory.
Blood stains were seen only at the spot where the bodies were lying and nowhere else at both the encounter spots.
If the police version that they opened fire in self-protection is true, then there should have been blood that spilled out from the injured at various spots in the area.
No tree at the encounter spot bore bullet marks.
There are no stones available at the Sachinodibanda encounter site which goes against the police version that the coolies had hurled stones on the armed forces.