The police and CRPF, who were on a joint operation, had said that they believe the Maoists could have slipped into the region to create a disturbance as the elections are approaching.

Image for representation- File photo/PTI
news Encounter Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 15:48

The two persons, who were alleged to be Maoists gunned down by the police in Visakhapatnam on Friday night, are reportedly Adivasi farmers. According to villagers and eye-witnesses, the victims -- Batti Bhushan and Seedhari Jamadhar - were carrying country-made pistols and safeguarding their farms from wild boars, which have been destroying their farms. As a safety measure to confront any wild animal, they regularly carry these weapons, they told local reporters.

On Friday night, the victims and two others -- Siveri Rambabu and Koda Bojubabu - went for their routine of safeguarding the farms from wild boars. While returning home around 12.30 am, the police started firing at them indiscriminately. The incident took place near Buradhamamidi village.

Panicked by the sound of the gunfire, the four farmers ran helter-skelter. However, Batti Bhushan and Seedhari Jamadhar were gunned down by the CRPF and police. After reaching the village, Siveri Rambabu and Koda Bojubabu narrated the incident to the villagers, reported Praja Sakti, a Telugu newspaper.

Anguished by the brutal killings, the villagers protested outside Paderu Hospital, on Saturday, where the bodies of the victims were taken for autopsy. 

Condemning the attacks, local Adivasi rights outfits, including the CPI, protested against the police. 

However, contradicting the claims of the villagers and eye-witnesses, Visakhapatnam Rural SP Babujee Attada told TNM, “We have identified them. They are Maoists. We had specific intelligence inputs. They even opened fire at us, and as an act of self-defence, we had to fire,” the SP said.

The alleged encounter was carried out together by the 198 CRPF Battalion and the Andhra Pradesh police. He said that a CRPF jawan suffered bullet injury when the Maoists fired at them.

Slamming the claims of the police, the activists have dubbed the alleged encounter as a ‘standard police version’. “It is the usual story of the police to kill people and claim that they fired at them in an act of self-defence,” said an activist.

Human Rights Forum, a human rights organisation, said that they would send a fact-finding team to find the truth in the incident.