High Court wants 6 bodies preserved

Chennai :  Even as protests targeting Andhra Pradesh-based establishments continued for the third day in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has ordered that bodies of six of the slain woodcutters be preserved in a mortuary in Tiruvanamalai district till the matter is taken up.

With reports emerging that many of those killed were shot from close range, the call for an independent inquiry has grown louder. Balu, a lawyer belonging to the PMK, moved the Madras High Court seeking a fresh autopsy of the bodies to determine the truth. However, many villagers in Dharmapuri, Vellore and Tiruvannamalai districts cremated the bodies on Friday defeating the cause of the petitioner. Some villagers in Dharmapuri alleged that local police and Revenue officials had forced them to light the pyre.

Meanwhile, tension gripped Padavedu in Tiruvannamalai district when relatives of slain Sasikumar and Murugan placed the bodies on the road and refused to take them away for cremation, leading to a scuffle with the police.

There were several woodcutters from Tamil Nadu among the 20 killed by the Special Task Force in the Seshachalam forests in Tirupati on Tuesday. According to a villager, at least seven of them were waylaid and asked to disembark from a bus heading for Tirupati.

In Chennai members of a fringe outfit vandalised a Heritage Fresh outlet. The establishment is owned of Heritage Foods Limited, which was founded by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in 1992. At several places, lawyers and political activists set fire to posters of Naidu and demanded registration of criminal cases against those responsible for the dubious encounter.

MDMK leader Vaiko has threatened to lay siege to the collectorate at Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh on Friday as a mark of protest. He ridiculed the justification offered by the Andhra Pradesh Government for the encounter. Establishments such as the Andhra Bank bore the brunt of attack at many places in Tamil Nadu.

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