NHRC makes six specific recommendations into the encounter of 20 alleged red sanders smugglers in Andhra Pradesh, including a CBI enquiry and Rs.5 lakh each to their dependents (29.5.2015)
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New Delhi, Dated: 29th May, 2015
The National Human Rights Commission, in the case registered suo motu by it on the incident of the killing of 20 alleged red sanders smugglers from Tamil Nadu in an encounter by a Special Task Force comprising police and forest officials in Sheshachalam forest in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh on the 7th April, 2015, has made the following observations that:
"Considering the background of the victims, the delay in registration of FIR, improvements made by the officers of the State Government, the nature of weapons allegedly seized from the spot, the testimony of Sekhar, A. Balachandran, M. Illango and the reluctance of the State Government to share even basic information with the Commission, we find that:
1) There are good grounds to think that there was serious violation of human rights of the 20 persons who were killed by STF personnel on 7th April, 2015 in Sheshachalam forest of Chittoor District.
2) The victims were very poor and their families are suffering under deprivation.
3) The families cannot be allowed to starve and die waiting for the final outcome of the enquiry by NHRC or investigation by an unbiased investigating agency."
In view of the above observations, among others, the Commission has made the following directions and recommendations:
"1) The Government of Andhra Pradesh shall pay Rs.5 lakh as immediate interim relief to the dependents of each of the 20 persons who were killed by STF personnel on 7th April, 2015 in Sheshachalm forest of Chittoor District. The compliance report with proof of payment shall be submitted to the Commission within eight weeks.
2) District Magistrate, Chittoor shall promptly take steps to disburse financial assistance to the dependents of 13 victims who belonged to Scheduled Tribe under the rule 12(4) r/w Annexure I of the SC/ST (PoA) Rules and submit action taken report to the Commission within eight weeks.
3) The Government of India and the Government of Andhra Pradesh shall have FIR No. 42/15, 43/15 and 46/15, PS Chandragiri investigated by CBI after completion of necessary formalities and shall submit an action taken report to the Commission within four weeks.
4) The present investigating officer of FIR No. 42/15, 43/15 and 46/15 shall get the statements of witnesses recorded u/s 164 Cr.P.C. before a competent Magistrate in Tamil Nadu at the earliest.
5) DGP, Tamil Nadu shall continue to provide adequate protection to the witnesses namely Sekhar, A. Balachandran and M. Illango, their families and the Presidents of the Panchayats where they are living.
6) Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh and DGP, Andhra Pradesh shall appear in person before the Commission on the 9th June, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. to furnish the information and produce the record as directed by the Commission in its proceedings dated 13th and 23rd April, 2015."