Its official now or its half-official, waiting to be completely official once the courts say so- that is what everyone is saying – obviously except the perpetrators (I take this liberty, based on the reports so far).

Because the agency directly involved with it, the Red Sanders Anti-smuggling Task Force (RSASTF) and the other agencies, the forest officials and the local police and the Andhra Pradesh administration, would not accept it.

Even if the courts say so. Even if the whole world is saying so.

Today, the Andhra Pradesh High Court refuted the report by the Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh about the encounter in Seshachalam forests near Tirupati in Chittoor district that took away 20 lives.

The High Court instead asked the police to lodger murder report under 302 on allegations about the encounter.

Like everyone, except the ruling dispensation and administration of Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh High Court, too, could see the frailty of the police logic.

Sooner or later, the probe has to go to the Central Bureau of Investigation – by High Court or Supreme Court order.

But as the Andhra Pradesh government is swearing by the verity of genuinity of this encounter, which appears to be concretely stage-managed by the very facts of the encounter, the state of bodies, the state of affairs of the encounter with no policeman injured, the crime-scenes, the realpolitik of red sandalwood smuggling, the whole world is finding it hard to digest.

And it was reflected today in the observation by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The court observed: “Why should not a case of unnatural death under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code be filed?”

The High Court was also negative about the development that the local police was investigating the incident and a magisterial probe has been ordered when two states were involved (Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh). The court asked that ‘how could local police conduct investigation?, when it was informed so. The state government would clear its stand by April 13.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –