A man suspected to be a red sanders smuggler has been allegedly killed in an encounter in Sheshachalam forests of Chittoor East area. A team of Forest department officials claimed to have confronted as many as 15 red sanders smugglers.
According to forest officials, the incident took place in the wee hours of Saturday as they began combing operations the previous night at Gollapalle forests of Srikalahasti mandal.
Speaking to TNM, Chittoor East District Forest Officer (DFO) R. Jagannath Singh said, "Our department teams were on a combing drive and came across a group of red sanders smugglers. Despite appeals to surrender, they started throwing stones, injuring some of the forest personnel and also tried to attack with axes and swords."
Singh added, “As they resorted to attacks, our teams fired two rounds first, one into the air (as a precautionary measure) and then into the ground. While a few of them who got injured managed to flee, one person has died."
Officials have identified the person as T Kamaraj aged over 50, who hails from Kannanaliya of Tiruvannamalai district in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
DFO informed that the combing operations are being continued by the forest teams and other range officials. They are on the lookout for the remaining 14 suspected red sanders smugglers who fled the area.
Earlier this year in February, in neighbouring Kadapa district's Vontimitta area, which shares the same forests, the bodiesof five men were found floating in a village tank in mysterious circumstances.