Monday, Jul 29, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
The police justify the killing of naxalites, always putting forth an argument that encounters are "real''. This is contradicted by civil liberties and human rights activists who allege that naxalites are being done away with in "fake encounters''.
A probe into the incidents that occurred in the recent past reveal startling details. The police claimed that Dunna Sudhakar, an important member of the State tech committee of the PW, was killed in an encounter with the police on July 7. Incidentally, the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) leaders of Guntur district issued a late-night statement on July 6 alleging that the police "picked up'' Sudhakar and demanded his production in court. Even before newspapers, carrying the statement, reached the market, Sudhakar was killed in an "encounter''.
Following this, the naxalites took revenge by striking with claymore mines on July 23 in the Adigoppula forest near Karempudi killing four Greyhounds policemen. In fact, the naxalites organised a "grama sabha'' from 10 pm to 2 am on the intervening night Sunday and Monday at Adigoppula. This obviously prompted a combing by Greyhounds squad in the forest.
Sources close to the PW told The Hindu that the naxalites, while camping inside the forest, always camouglaged claymore mines with bushes in the possible routes that might be taken by the police to approach them (naxalites). Even on the fateful day, the naxalite on sentry duty reportedly gave a signal to the dalam members to run away on noticing the policemen, before triggering the claymore mines.
Usually, the naxalites would camp near a water body or a well in the forests. Even the police have a clear idea about where the water bodies or wells are located inside the forest with minute details.
What is interesting here is that the police picked up one Kommula Srinivasa Rao, a close associate of the PW, for questioning. Sources said that Srinivasa Rao handed over a can of curds to the naxalites and was returning when the blast occurred on Tuesday last. On hearing the deafening sound, he "inadvertently ran towards the police'' and got caught, the sources disclosed.
A senior police officer pointed out that Srinivasa Rao "might have alerted'' the dalam members about the movement of Greyhounds. The senior official asked: "The civil rights organisations may ask us as to what the cases pending against Srinivasa Rao are or whether he has any criminal history. But, how else should the police react to this when four cops were killed just because of the leads given by him, though he is not directly involved in any criminal case''
However, sources close to the PW categorically stated that Srinivasa Rao did not have any "mala fide intentions'', as he was not aware of the movement of the police.
The APCLC issued a statement on Saturday night about the picking up of Bhagam Veeraiah who was killed in an encounter in the wee hours of Sunday. Meanwhile, the killing of Sheik Peer Saheb, the former sarpanch of Avulavaripalem, in his village on Saturday night in the garb of "police informer'' sent shock waves among the people in the region.
Against this background, the peace-loving commoners of the district are caught in a perplexity as to "who is right'' and, of course, a sense of fear.
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