news Wednesday, April 08, 2015 - 05:30
The Andhra Pradesh administration was both on the offence as well as on the defence, a day after the state police claimed that 20 smugglers had been killed in an encounter. The Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force said on Tuesday that 20 smugglers had been killed in retaliatory fire after they assaulted thetask force with axes, rods and stones. Politicians, activists and elected representatives have denounced the incident, alleging that thewhole episode was a “stage managed encounter”. A day after the incident some arms of the government were attempting damage control while others went on the offensive. The Ruia Hospitalwhere the bodies have been kept for the post mortem had turned into a public thoroughfare, with the media jostling for space and attemptingto speak to activists and the officials who turned up at the hospital. Telugu Desam Party leader Muthu Krishna Naidu defended the actions of the government and said that the police had “risked their lives tosave the resources of the state”. When asked whether the police had not used disproportionate force on the wood cutters, he said heatedly: "They (attacked) with stones, axes and rods. How can you say they didn't attack?” When asked about the resulting deaths, he said that whether it a policeman who lost his life, or a member of the public who died, bothdeaths were regrettable. To a question he said that the government had already ordered a magisterial inquiry by the district revenue officer. Addressing a press conference in the evening, AP Director General of Police (DGP) told the media that his force fired only when they were attacked and asked, "Is there any rule that police should first shoot on the legs?" The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday passed an order on a special leave petition filed by the Civil Liberties Committee ofAndhra Pradesh, directing the state government to preserve the bodies of the deceased until the relatives claimed them. Attempting damage control, the district administration had organized a help desk for the families of the deceased on Wednesday morning andhad said that the government would look after their transport arrangements when they returned with the bodies of their relatives. They made announcements in three languages calling attention to the relatives of the deceased. The High Court has also directed the state government to file cases of unnatural death and investigate the deaths of the deceased. KChaitanya told The News Minute that the police had filed a case of 307 (attempt to murder) on the deceased, “in line with the argument ofself defence”, but now, they would have to file a case of unnatural death under Sections 174 and 176 of the Indian Penal code based on thedirections of the court, he said.

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