HC moved for tracing 40 Tamils 'missing' in AP forest

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Madurai, Apr 10: A petition has been filed in the Madras High Court bench here claiming that 40 tribal Tamils were feared missing after they went for 'work' with 20 others who were gunned down by Andhra Pradesh police in a forest area in Chittoor District and sought steps to trace them.

When the petition by an advocate came up for hearing today, Justice R Mahadevan ordered it to be listed before a division bench.

Tamil Nadu

Petitioner K.Maharajan claimed a total of 60 tribals had been taken to Seshachalam hills by agents and smugglers based in Andhra Pradesh but 40 got scattered and their fate was not known.

Out of the 60, twenty persons had been shot dead. The others too might have been either shot dead or have gone missing inside the jungles, he submitted.

He also prayed to the court to direct the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary to file a report on the inter-state steps taken on the April 7 incident in which police and forest personnel gunned down 20 woodcutters from the state in Seshachalam hills in an operation against red sander smugglers.

He also wanted the two states to submit a report on steps taken to check smuggling activities by the red sanders mafia.

Apart from seeking a compensation of Rs 25 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased, the petitioner wanted Andhra Pradesh government to file a status report on the FIRs registered by them pertaining to red sanders smuggling.

He alleged Andhra Pradesh government had been announcing for the past four months through "Tom-Tom" (a traditional system of messaging by beating of drums) that shoot-at-sight orders had been issued in the entire Tirupati jungle area.

The post-mortem revealed that the victims had suffered cut injuries and weals, he claimed adding that in this situation it was important that Andhra Pradesh file a detailed report on the killings and other action taken in connection with the smuggling of red sanders, the petitioner said.

PTI

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