Tirupati "encounter" takes political colour

Published on April 08, 2015 10:57:57 AM
The political parties in Tamil Nadu and Human Rights groups in the state of Andhra Pradesh have taken to the streets, regarding killing of the 20 suspected red sandalwood smugglers who were shot dead in the encounter on April 7.

The fact that all the alleged smugglers are residents of Tamil Nadu, from Vellore, Tiruvannamalai and Villupuram to be specific, has made this issue a political melting point.

All the Tamil parties, led by MDMK (Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) chief Vaiko, took to the streets and condemned the act of Andhra Pradesh police, alleging that it was not an encounter, but a preempted murder of Tamil common men. Print media from Tamil Nadu, mainly newspapers from the state covered this issue prominently, as ‘killing of Tamils, by Andhra policemen.

The flashpoint came in the form of Tamil Nadu chief minister O Panneerselvam, writing a letter to Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, asking for compensation from the smugglers. The whole issue became political, as the Tamil parties are of the view that the alleged smugglers were daily wage laborers and not smugglers. The belief is that they were used as scrooges by some smuggling mafia.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights organizations, both in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are condemning the encounter as an epitome of police mishandling of smuggling cases.