Seshachalam, Alair Encounters hold judicial probe, NHRC tells AP, TS
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday asked the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana police to conduct a judicial inquiry into the Seshachalam and Aleru encounters, respectively. It may be recalled that 20 red sanders woodcutters in Seshachalam forest area in Chittoor district were gunned down on the intervening night of April 6 and 7 by the Special Task Force (STF) police
Commission decides to send own teams to the spots for investigation
Hyderabad: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday asked the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana police to conduct a judicial inquiry into the Seshachalam and Aleru encounters, respectively. It may be recalled that 20 red sanders woodcutters in Seshachalam forest area in Chittoor district were gunned down on the intervening night of April 6 and 7 by the Special Task Force (STF) police, who were deputed to check red sanders smuggling in the forest area. Similarly, in Aleru five undertrials were shot dead by the Telangana police on April 7.
The NHRC, on the second day of its camp sitting at Dr Marri Chenna Reddy Human Resource Development (MCRHRD) Institute in Jubilee Hills, chaired by Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court KG Balakrishnan questioned as to why the State governments were reluctant to go for a judicial inquiry on the encounter case when the crime was of such high magnitude was involved and instead ordered a revenue officer inquiry.
The other members of the Commission Justice Cyriac Joseph, Justice D Murugesan and SC Sinha expressed disapproval over non-compliance of its April 13, orders regarding the submission of report with full details of investigation. The legal advisor of the AP police, M Naga Raghu, who presented before the Commission a set of reports, said the police were not supposed to divulge the details to anybody except the High Court who gave the instructions not to reveal the proceedings.
“The police is to provide the wireless set log details as well as the mobile numbers of the officers, the details of injuries received by the police involved in the alleged encounter within two weeks. The Commission also said that it is sending its own team of officials to visit the encounter spot and other places within a week to submit a report on the incident,” Balakrishnan said. The Additional Director General of Police (Legal) of AP police, Ray Vinay Ranjan, informed the Commission that the State government has decided to constitute a Special Investigative Team (SIT) to investigate into the encounter incident.
“The names of the members are yet to be finalised for the SIT,” he informed, and sought two weeks time from the Commission. The Commission also directed the investigating agency to facilitate the recording of the evidence of the three eye witnesses, who had already deposed before the NHRC under section 164 of the CrPC by a magistrate in the Seshachalam case.
The executive director of People’s Watch (A program unit of the Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns), Henri Tiphagne, argued that the alleged encounter was a clear case of abduction, torture and raised allegations of extrajudicial action. He further maintained that the allegations were to do away with evidence. “The orders have been directed by top leaders of the AP government and gave the ‘green signal’ to carry out the firing,” Henri alleged, adding that the phone records would reveal the involvement of all officers.