Thiruvananthapuram, April. 7: The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that 20 alleged red sanders smugglers were killed in firing by a joint team of special police and forest personnel in the Seshachalam forests of Chittoor District in Andhra Pradesh.
According to the media reports, the incident took place at Etagunta and Vacchinodu Banda hamlets, in the deep forest in Chandragiri Mandal, earlier in the day. It appears that police and forest officials opened fire as the smugglers attacked them with stones, axes and knives.
The matter was immediately brought to the notice of NHRC Member Justice D. Murugesan who is camping in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the camp sitting of the Commission. He observed that the incident involved a serious violation of human rights of the individuals and the opening of firing cannot be justified on the ground of self defence since it resulted in the loss of lives of 20 persons.
Accordingly, notices have been issued to the chief secretary and the DGP of Andhra Pradesh calling for report explaining the act of police and forest officials within two weeks. The matter shall be taken up for hearing in the camp sitting of the Commission to be held at Hyderabad on April 23.
The Commission has also noted that this incident has taken place at a time when a similar incident was reported from the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the month of December, 2014 wherein Andhra Pradesh forest officials were seen physically torturing and assaulting a man in a naked position and reports are awaited from concerned authorities and the issue is under consideration of the Commission.