The lone survivor of Tirupati forest encounter, in which 20 villagers suspected to be red sander smugglers were killed, will soon appear before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in New Delhi, sources said.
Sekhar, one of the eight people who went to Andhra Pradesh on Monday afternoon, allegedly escaped police arrest near the Andhra-Tamil Nadu border and returned home next morning, at a time when all others picked up by the police were been killed in an encounter at the Seshachalam forest area near Tirupati.
Sekhar, who was hiding in his village after the encounter report broke, is currently being given shelter by a Madurai-based human rights organisation People’s Watch. Henry Tiphagne, executive director of the organisation said Sekhar is safe. Besides moving the NHRC, Sekhar said, a fact finding team of human rights experts will also be visiting all the villages of victims on April 14 and 15.
One relative of Sekhar said whether it is Andhra police or Tamil Nadu police, they are all the same. “He was forced to go underground after revealing his version as he is afraid of police. We need to produce him before an agency that can deal him with sensitivity, which may be either a court or agencies like NHRC. He will soon appear before NHRC,” he said.
It was The Indian Express that first reported the story of Sekhar on Thursday after he chose to go hiding fearing police custody. He told The Indian Express that he was taken to Andhra regarding a job by his distant relative and neighbour Mahendran, 21, who is a plumber.
A senior NHRC official said they are awaiting a report from Andhra Pradesh DGP and the chief secretary. “We have asked the state to submit the report in two weeks on the encounter killing of 20 alleged red sander smugglers,” the official said.