TIRUPATI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which took up the case of the alleged encounter in Seshachalam forest under the limits of Chandragiri mandal in Chittoor district, where 20 red sanders woodcutters from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu were gunned down by the armed police on April 7, began its inquiry into the incident, as two of its representatives arrived in Tirupati.
According to sources, the NHRC officials including its investigation officer RP Singh and assistant investigation officer Mallappa, arrived here on Sunday, met with the task force and forest department and sought all the available documentary evidence from them.
It is learnt that, the NHRC officials, whose intention was to verify the documents regarding the encounter, also enquired the task force and police department about the arms utilised during the encounter and also information relating to the cases filed on the issue. They also asked the forest officials about the existing forest laws governing activities in that location, the sources said.
However, once again, the officials of both the departments refused to share information with the NHRC citing the ongoing inquiry by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) working under the directions of the High Court, sources added.
“As the case relating to the encounter is pending with the High Court and the judiciary itself instructing us not to share any information regarding the encounter with others except with the High Court itself, we could not share information with the NHRC as it will amount to contempt of court,” said an official pleading anonymity.
Meanwhile, with the NHRC members getting the required permission for inspecting both the encounter locations in the forest near Srivari Mettu in Seshachalam forest on Monday, the forest officials expressed their willingness to accompany the NHRC members into the forest.