Andhra govt submits autopsy report on ‘encounter’ of woodcutters

The state government also informed the high court that the “re-postmortem” of six of the victims was also conducted in Tamil Nadu.

By P S Jayaram

Published: Tue 21 Apr 2015, 11:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 8:39 PM

Hyderabad - The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday submitted before the Hyderabad High Court the first post-mortem report of 20 woodcutters from Tamil Nadu who were killed in an alleged encounter with the police in Seshachalam forests of Chittoor district while trying to smuggle out red sanders on April 7.

The state government also informed the high court that the “re-postmortem” of six of the victims was also conducted in Tamil Nadu as per the directions of the court, and that the reports were awaited.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar directed the Registrar General to instruct the State Government-run Osmania General Hospital to submit their report (second post-mortem) before it by April 22.

It may be recalled that the high court had last week ordered fresh autopsies of six victims of the police firing in Seshachalam forests. The killing of 20 woodcutters from the neighbouring state in the encounter had resulted in widespread outrage with rights activists and political parties condemning the incident as “massacre.” The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also took up the case and had sought a detailed report from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government.

The high court had on April 13 made Muniyammal, the wife of one of the victims Sashi Kumar, a co-petitioner in the case filed by Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) which alleges that those killed in the firing were poor labourers from Tamil Nadu.

In her complaint with Chandragiri police in Chittoor, Muniyammal alleged that “it was not an encounter death (as claimed by the police) but was a well-planned and organised crime, committed by the Special Task Force” (STF) which was involved in the combing operation and subsequent alleged encounter.

Subsequently, based on her complaint, the AP police registered an FIR under sections 302 (murder) and 364 (kidnapping or abducting in order to murder) against “unknown” STF personnel.

This is the first case of murder registered against police officers in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh.

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