Free Press Journal

Kin of 20 firing victims lodge police complaint in AP


Red sanders smugglers

Hyderabad: Alleging foul play in the gunning down of 20 people in a police operation, the relatives of the victims today lodged a police complaint in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Seeking registration of a criminal case against the Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force (comprising police and forest personnel), kin of 20 woodcutters from neighbouring Tamil Nadu approached Chandragiri police station under Tirupati Urban District Police and lodged a complaint accusing them of killing their relatives.

“In their complaint, they have expressed doubts on the firing incident and alleged it was fake. They have sought necessary action as per law against the Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force personnel,” Tirupati (West Sub-Division) DSP K Srinivasulu told PTI over phone. Some of the relatives alleged that the incident was a “planned murder” by AP Police.

“They (people killed in the incident) were only labourers who came to Chittoor for building and construction work. We want a comprehensive investigation into the firing incident and registration of case against police and forest officials. A CBI probe should be carried out,” they told reporters. However, no fresh case was registered following the complaint, Tirupati (East Sub-Division) DSP R Ravishanker Reddy said.

“Two cases were already registered in connection with the incident based on complaints lodged by forest officials, who claimed they came under attack by the cutters. Investigation is going on (with regard to two cases). Now we have considered this (new) complaint as part of the cases already booked. We have sought for legal opinion (on the complaint) and proceed accordingly,” Srinivasulu said.

After coming under attack by the woodcutters, who were armed with axes, sickles, stones and firearms, the police opened fire in self defence as 11 police personnel were injured in the attack that took place in Seshachalam hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh, the DSPs maintained. The Andhra Pradesh government had earlier formed a Red Sanders Anti Smuggling Task Force to check smuggling of red sanders. The Task Force comprises officers from police and forest departments.