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20 red sandalwood smugglers killed in Chittoor encounter

At least 20 smugglers were killed on Tuesday in two gunfights with police in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district, police said.
Members of the special combing squad stand near the body of a suspected red sanders smuggler who was shot dead, near Tirumala.
Members of the special combing squad stand near the body of a suspected red sanders smuggler who was shot dead, near Tirumala.

At least 20 smugglers were killed on Tuesday in two gunfights with police in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district, police said.

The gunfights occurred in Seshachalam forest around 5 a.m. in two places within a radius of one km in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor, about 500 km from Hyderabad.

The operation, which is being carried out jointly by Chittoor forest officials and the local police, is still on.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Kanta Rao told reporters that over 100 smugglers and labourers helped them to attack policemen, forcing them to open fire in self-defence.

Only last week Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) M. Kantha Rao has said that a representation has been made to the State government seeking permission for opening fire on red sanders’ smugglers, saying that it would be an effective move to curb smuggling activities.

Speaking to the media in Chittoor on Thursday, Mr. Kantha Rao, who is heading the Task Force (Red sanders operations) in Nellore, Prakasam and Rayalaseema districts, said that he was awaiting the nod from the State government for implementing the order which would involve no proceedings such as filing a case and prosecution.

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