Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had an extremely bloody day on Tuesday in which 25 people were killed in encounters. While in one incident, 20 persons caught smuggling red sandalwood were killed, in another, 5 terrorists who were allegedly trying to escape were shot down.
As protests in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana intensify, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has sought a detailed reply from both the governments on the incidents.
The National Human Rights Commission has also issued a notice to the AP government seeking answers on the encounter of the red sandalwood smugglers.
A bloody day in AP-Telangana:
It was probably one of the bloodiest days in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in recent times. Moreover Telangana had witnessed two encounters last week in which two SIMI operatives were gunned down by the police after they had shot at a constable.
While the encounter of the SIMI operatives has not been questioned as a majority feel that it was a bona fide operation, doubts have been raised over the two encounters of yesterday in which 25 persons had been killed.
The first encounter took place at the Seschachalam hill range where the police spotted red sandalwood smugglers and shot down 20 after it was alleged that they were attacked.
In the second encounter five terror operative including the dangerous Viqarruddin Ahmed were gunned down. The police claimed that all of them were trying to escape while being taken to court at Warrangal and hence they were gunned down.
Questions about the Red Sanders encounter:
Several questions have been raised about the encounter of the red sander smugglers encounter. The police have claimed that these were pelted with stones and some had tried to attack them with axes and sickles.
While the police made out their case stating that they had killed smugglers, the other point of debate is these were poor workers from Tamil Nadu who were hired by the smugglers to fell the red sandalwood trees.
The questions that many are asking is did the police need to kill them. They had the option of shooting below the knee in case some were trying to flee. Moreover, how dangerous were these persons who had pelted stones at the police.
There is also nothing on record to show that any of these men had guns with them and had opened fire.
The police officials that Oneindia spoke with clearly state that these persons were dangerous and there was no option but to fire. They were approaching the patrol party with axes which is a weapon that can kill. We did our best to nab them, but they could have overpowered us, the officer stated.
Amidst concerns Home Minister Rajnath Singh has sought a detailed reply from the AP government on the incident. The NHRC too has issued notices. [Red sandalwood smugglers encounter: NHRC issues notice]
The Warrangal encounter:
For several activists in Telangana this is a cold blooded murder. Five persons who have been in custody since 2010 were killed and the activists say that the angle of provocation being narrated by the police is wrong. [Warangal encounter: Was it fake?]
There are a couple of questions which comes to mind while looking at the images released after the encounter. All of them were chained or handcuffed and one of them chained to the vehicle inside. How could they have escaped or even open fire after snatching away the arms belonging to the police?
Latheef Mohammad Khan, the convener of the Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee says it is a matter of deep concern for the whole civil society that five youth who were in the judicial custody, hand cuffed, were killed by the police in a cold blooded manner.
The story planted by the top brass of police is nothing but a bundle of lies and it seems that high level police officers already planned the killing of five youths to send the message to the Muslim community that their lives are based on the mercy of the police, Khan points out.
We demand that the Chief Minister of Telangana act on the issue. The judiciary too must take an active role and ensure safety of Muslims, Khan demands. [AP govt says no human rights violation]