CHITTOOR ENCOUNTER: THE QUESTIONS THAT COME TO MIND

THE QUESTIONS

1. What do we call it – Seshachalam encounter or Chittoor Encounter or Tirupati Encounter?

2. So far, the names doing the rounds are Chittoor Encounter and Tirupati Encounter. The ‘alleged’ encounter took place in Seshachalam forests in Chittoor district. Incidentally, the forests surround the Tirupati city that falls in Chittoor district. So, where should the semiotics go? Or, the name doesn’t matter given the scale of the calamity?

3. Should it be termed an encounter or a massacre? Is it a genocide, a stage-managed encounter or a police cleansing operation aimed at the cleaning the society?

4. Did the police do its job? Cannot it separate a woodcutter from a red-sandalwood smuggler? Incidentally, all of those dead are woodcutters, with relatives crying hoarse over their death.

5. The Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) of Andhra Pradesh Police, the elite unit – how can it be do dumb and anti-human in killing so many people while none of its members are even seriously injured?

6. How can RSASTF explain decomposed bodies and red-sandalwood logs with white paints and code found at the encounter site?

7. Going by the precedent of Indian policing, there are chances that it is yet another stage-managed encounter, but with an abnormally high death toll. Can we buy the statement of a major person attached with the ground level-ops that they were so well prepared that the smugglers couldn’t harm them?

8. Irrespective of which side is the truth in this case, the police botched it up and botched it up bad. There are 20 dead and they are called smugglers by a police unit with no one injured. Going by the past, security personnel have been killed regularly by red-sanders? Who will buy the police statement then?

9. It was in a dense forest, some 10 Kms from human habitation that the encounters took place. In such circumstances and going by the past history, it is quite bizarre to note it down that police party escaped unharmed and smugglers also chose to attack a fully equipped a police unit with archaic weapons – stones, sickles, axes in this case. Smugglers chose to take on a fully equipped party with archaic weapons only, and that too in a forest, and all policemen escaped unharmed. The whole sequence of events is bizarre, isn’t it?

10. As expected, it has created tension between two states – all the slain are from Tamil Nadu – and the cops are from an elite unit of Andhra Pradesh Police. Aren’t we staring at yet another issue of tussle between two states that will take a long time to resolve?

11. Rights groups from both states as well as the national and international bodies have taken note of the incident. NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) has taken suo moto cognizance. Hearing a petition to launch CBI inquiry into the case, the High Court today asked the Andhra Pradesh government to file a written submission in the case within two days. Amnesty International has written on it. A storm is brewing that is to snowball in coming days. Isn’t is going to cost dear to the RSASTF and therefore the state government?

12. No one from the state government so far has taken the ‘responsibility’ or ‘laurels’ except the officials directly involved in it. A magisterial probe has been ordered. Chandrababu Naidu is tight-lipped. Ministry of Home Affair at Centre has been briefed by him. Tamil Nadu CM O. Panneerselvam is demanding a ‘credible’ probe. Opposition parties and Andhra Pradesh and political parties in Tamil Nadu have created a big issue over the ‘alleged’ encounter and it is going to get heightened as more and more truth comes out. Is the episode a setback for Chandrababu Naidu? Is he dealing with the another ‘Hashimpura’ with South India’s biggest encounter of the history?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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