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From the 7th April, the media started to carry reports that 20 men from Tamil Nadu had been killed earlier that day in an encounter in the Seshachalam forest in Andhra Pradesh, where, according to the State police, they were cutting down red sander trees and had attacked policemen and foresters of the anti-smuggling task force. The following statement attributed to Dr. M. Kantha Rao, DIG of the AP Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling STF carried in the newspapers, set out what had happened:

“As soon as they saw police, at least 150 to 200 labourers, hired by the smugglers, rained stones, shot arrows and threw sticks and iron rods. They hid behind boulders and attacked. At least eight forest officers were injured and the
task force opened fire in self-defense. At least 20 were killed. They are hired daily wagers from Tamil Nadu. We believe they had been camping here since Monday evening. The exchange started at 5 am and continued for about an hour.”