The full bench of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is now in Hyderabad to conduct public hearing on two recent cases of police encounters in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana that triggered widespread outrage.
The bench comprising NHRC chairman justice KG Balakrishnan, justice Cyriac Joseph, justice D Murugesan and justice SC Sinha will take up the two cases of encounter that occurred earlier this month. The first case relates to the killing of twenty alleged red sandalwood smugglers by the Special Task Force (STF) in two encounters in the Seshachalam forest area in Andhra Pradesh.
The second case pertains to the encounter killing of five under-trial prisoners while they were being transported from the Warangal jail to a court in Hyderabad. The killing of the five, some of them belonging to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), had raised suspicion since the incident occurred almost immediately after the shooting down of four cops by suspected militants in Nalgonda district.
Both the cases evoked strong public reaction with rights activists and political parties alike demanding an impartial probe into the incidents.
The NHRC would suo motu take up the two cases for public hearing from April 23. The bench has summoned senior police officials and district authorities from both the states for the hearing.
Justice Balakrishnan, inaugurating the open hearing on Wednesday, said that the state must ensure equality and uphold every citizen’s right to live. “State has the fundamental responsibility to provide its people the rights enshrined in the conventions of the United Nations,” he said.