It was not just gun wounds that the 20 Tamil Nadu men, who were shot down by the AP police last week, suffered. They endured much more, family members told a fact-finding team here on Wednesday. Bodies had no hands, toes missing, teeth broken, eyes gouged out and nose chopped.
The team met families of the 20 persons at Tiruvannamalai and Dharmapuri districts. The members were denied permission to enter the encounter spot at AP on Tuesday.
Speaking about the encounter, one of the team members, Satyabrata Pal, former member of National Human Rights Commission, told reporters in Vellore that he had not come across such brutality in his five years as NHRC member. He termed the manner in which they were killed as “cold blooded, premeditated brutality”.
“Evidence shows that the AP police is lying through its teeth. The 20 men were murdered in cold blood. They were tortured, their bodies burned and mutilated like how the ISIS is doing in the Middle East,” he said.
The team members said the 20 victims were ordinary labourers from the State. They were “abducted” by AP police and killed.
Xavier Suresh, professor of Forensic Medicine, said the Medical Superintendent of Tirupati GH refused to divulge details of the post-mortem report.
“But he said nine members of the STF who were admitted and treated in the hospital had simple injuries caused by stones and sticks,” he said. Alleging that the 20 persons were killed on the night of April 6 or early morning of April 7, he said the bodies were left under the sun.
Advocate Ajitha, another member said photographs of the deceased showed that the hands, legs and face of at least four were skinless.
Recounting that they met 13 young widows, team member Suresh Hosbet, retired judge, Bombay High Court, demanded that 20 FIRs be filed and severe punishment awarded.
He called the incident an “act of police terrorism”. Mr. Pal said in a normal encounter, if 10 are killed, 20 would sustain injuries but this was not the case with the AP incident, while E.N. Ram Mohan, former Director General, Border Security Force, said a commission should be set up to inquire into red sander smuggling.
The team will prepare an interim report and submit it to the President, the Centre, the State governments of AP and Tamil Nadu and, the NHRC on April 23. Prior to this, they will send the report to AP government to get their version.
The members said thousands from Tamil Nadu were imprisoned in Andhra Pradesh in the last two years and demanded that the Tamil Nadu government to take steps to provide them legal help.
Henri Tiphagne, executive director of People’s Watch, asked the Tamil Nadu government to get in touch with the telecom companies to gather details, including track records, of the mobile phones of the 20 persons.
In case of a re-post mortem, a forensic expert from Tamil Nadu should be present at the place and Mr. Xavier Suresh should be permitted to be at the spot on behalf of the families, he added.